Thursday 22 March 2018

€102,000 salary plus €101,000 pension for ex-department boss

Katherine Donnelly

A FORMER secretary general of a government department is being paid a state salary of €102,000 on top of his annual pension of €101,000.

Tadhg O hEalaithe, former secretary general of the Department of Arts Culture and the Gaeltacht, has a senior post with an education standards watchdog.

Mr O hEalaithe is Director of Corporate Services and Learners Awards with the Higher Education and Training Awards Council. HETAC is the qualifications awarding body for third-level institutions outside the university sector.

Mr O hEalaithe retired from his secretary general role in January 2000, while in his early- 50s, but has continued to enjoy lucrative positions on the state payroll.

Under the terms of the Top Level Appointments Commission (TLAC), secretary generals are appointed for only seven years.

In return they receive a generous severance package.

Mr O hEalaithe served as secretary general in the Department of the Gaeltacht from 1991 and, subsequently, in the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, when it was established in 1993.

When he left the department, he moved into the chairmanship of Udaras na Gaeltachta.

A few weeks before retirement from the department on January 20, 2000, Mr O hEalaithe was appointed chairman of Udaras na Gaeltachta.

After his term as Udaras chairman ended, Mr O hEalaithe was appointed to his current role in HETAC, following an open competition.

Under 1965 legislation, if a former civil servant on a pension is re-employed in the civil service, his combined pension and salary income must not exceed the salary in the original job.

In the case of Mr O hEalaithe, his combined income of €203,000 is slightly ahead of the cap of €200,000 recently introduced for secretary generals of government departments.

Mr O hEalaithe is currently on medical leave from HETAC and was not contactable yesterday.

HETAC did not respond to a request from the Irish Independent to discuss the matter.

Irish Independent

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