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Thursday 17 August 2017

Taypayer foots €265,000 bill for Nama boss' double income

DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

FRANK Daly, the chairman of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has received more than €265,000 from the taxpayer in salary and pension payments this year, new figures reveal.

The Government has made several attempts since taking office to reduce the excessive pensions and salaries paid to top public servants, but Mr Daly is the latest case of an official receiving more than the Taoiseach's salary of €200,000.

Controversy was sparked earlier this year when the Sunday Independent detailed a host of pension payments to former office-holders who were still working.

The figures released by the Department of Finance revealed that Mr Daly was paid €150,000 a year "in respect of his functions as chairman of Nama in 2011, on the basis of his full-time availability."

He also received expenses totalling €3,199 since 2010 in respect of his role as Nama chairman.

However, this is not the full story. Mr Daly, who is also a former Revenue Commissioner chairman, receives an annual pension of €114,893.

There is absolutely nothing illegal in what Mr Daly is doing, and under current rules he is entitled to claim his pension as he is over 65 years of age.

Mr Daly's pension has been reduced by €11,978 in line with other six-figure public sector pensions, and the Government has come under significant pressure to cap pensions for senior officials and former politicians to €100,000.

In a reply to a parliamentary question to Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, Mr Noonan said Mr Daly was not in receipt of any other payment from membership of state boards.

The revelation of Mr Daly's double payment from the taxpayer comes in the wake of a letter sent by Robert Watt, the secretary-general at Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, demanding that no public servant should be paid additional fees for sitting on state boards as part of their job.

Last week, Mr Daly said he was confident of "a sale very soon" of the unfinished headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank in Dublin's North Wall Quay. He said that while many suggestions had been made about how Nama might dispose of the site, including "knocking it down and throwing it into the Liffey", he said it was "a good building" and its sale would be a "good result" for the agency.

He also said it was quite right to suggest the building was "probably a symbol of the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger", and added that its sale would "send out a good signal to the country". The chairman refused to say who would buy the building.

The Central Bank has emerged as the most likely purchaser of the site.

Sunday Independent

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