Saturday 21 October 2017

Probe into port chief's €20,000 holiday pay

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has launched an investigation into a port company chief executive who was paid almost €20,000 for unused holidays.

It came after the Irish Independent revealed last August that Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company chief executive Gerry Dunne earned more than €188,000 in 2011.

This was an increase of almost €20,000 on the previous year, but the company refused to explain.

Mr Varadkar has now revealed that Mr Dunne is claiming that the €19,877 payment was for untaken holidays and leave. But he said his department did not accept this payment and that it should not have been made.

Mr Dunne, who was appointed in March 2009, gets €136,000 in basic salary, director's fees of €12,600 and a car allowance of €20,000. His unclaimed holiday and leave payment came on top of this. It is not known how long a period the payment was claimed for.

Mr Varadkar told the Dail that matter would be taken up when a new chairman of the harbour company was appointed -- who will be working alongside Mr Dunne. He said he wanted it to be tackled quickly because it was a "distraction" from the more important issue of the future of the struggling harbour company.

Mr Varadkar told the Dail that Mr Dunne's salary was "very high for a relatively small company".

People Before Profit Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the payments to Mr Dunne were "extraordinary" given the relatively small workforce at the company.

"It appears that those at the top are creaming it while the workforce is under extreme pressure," he said.

Last year, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company saw revenues drop by 36pc, down to €6.8m, and incurred a loss of almost €830,000. The company has been forced to lay off staff to cut costs, and took an €860,000 hit on a property investment.

It is one of the smaller ports in the country, with 84pc of all commercial business conducted through Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes.

Mr Dunne could not be contacted for comment.

Irish Independent

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