€1.8m pension bonanza for seven retiring county council chief executives

ISME's Mark Fielding

Gordon Deegan

SEVEN retiring local authority chief executives enjoyed a pension bonanza, walking away with combined lump sums totalling €1.8m.

New figures, provided yesterday by the Department of the Environment, show that one CEO, Michael Malone, retired from his post from Kildare County Council with a pension lump sum of €290,658 after a 42-year career in local government.

Mr Malone was 60 when he retired last April and along with a gross lump sum payment of €217,994, he received a special severance gratuity payment of €72,664.

The Department has confirmed that Mr Malone is to receive a gross annual pension payment of €72,664.

The annual combined gross pension payments to the seven will cost the taxpayer €461,697 in 2015, and will cost the taxpayers millions more to fund in the years ahead.

The average lump-sum payments along with the special severance payments for the seven work out at over €257,000.

Chief executive of ISME Mark Fielding yesterday said the lump sums and special severance lump sums were enough "to make your eyes water".

"The gravy train rumbles along for retiring council chief executives, with annual pensions twice the average industrial wage," he said.

He said the country was paying out over €1bn more in public sector pensions than it was receiving in contributions and the pensions levy.

"The Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke this week of solving 'inequalities'. Maybe he should look closer to home," he added.

Three CEOs in the group of seven each received pay-offs of €270,194, made up of gross lump payments of €202,646 and the special severance payments of €67,548.

The CEOs in question are Clare native Martina Moloney, who retired as CEO of Galway County Council aged 54 last July; Caherciveen native Tom Curran, who retired as Kerry County Council CEO aged 60 last June, and Joe Crockett, who retired as CEO of Kilkenny County Council aged 55 last August.

The figures show that former CEO of Cavan County Council Jack Keyes left aged 61 last May and received a lump sum of €245,034, made up of a gross lump sum payment of €182,207 and a special severance payment of €62,827 after a 10-year tenure at Cavan County Council.

Former CEO of Roscommon County Council Frank Dawson last year received €188,481 in a gross lump sum payment.

Tom Barry retired as CEO of Carlow County Council in January of this year, aged 59 after 41 years of service in local government. Mr Barry received €251,308, including a special severance payment.

The Government has moved to end the gold-plated pension payments enjoyed with newly and recently-appointed CEOs.