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Thursday 23 November 2017

Bosses at state-run firms still get big bonuses

Paul Melia and Kevin Keane

SENIOR executives at state companies were paid bonuses in 2009 and 2010 -- despite a request from the then Government to suspend all extra payments.

Port bosses were paid thousands of euro last year -- when the public finances were in freefall and some of the ports were losing money.

It has already emerged that generous bonuses were paid in 2009 to semi-state bosses, including those at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), ESB, Bord na Mona and Coillte.

And last night some semi-states -- including the DAA, Bord Gais, Bord na Mona and Coillte -- refused to say if bonuses would be paid for 2010.

The ESB and VHI said their chief executives had waived their bonuses for 2010.

The Department of Transport confirmed that the chief executives of four port companies and the loss-making Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) were paid bonuses -- even though the then transport minister Noel Dempsey had told them in February 2009 to "significantly reduce or eliminate" bonus payments for 2009 and 2010.

The agencies that refused to heed the minister's request were the Waterford, Cork, Shannon Foynes and Galway port companies and the DAA.

Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and the Irish Aviation Authority all agreed to suspend bonus payments.

The Irish Independent has learned that:

  • Waterford Port Company chief executive Stan McIlvanney is due a bonus of €43,748 for 2010, which has not yet been paid. It brings his total package to €194,005.
  • Cork Port Company CEO Brendan Keating received a €16,858 bonus last year, bringing his remuneration package to €186,913. In 2009, he was paid a total of €288,708 when the port made a loss of €4.9m.
  • Patrick Keating in Shannon Foynes got a €10,575 bonus last year, bringing his salary package to €155,869. In 2009, he received a bonus of €20,253.
  • Galway chief executive Eamon Bradshaw received a total package of €113,087 last year, which included a bonus of €9,337.
  • Chief executives in Dundalk, Drogheda, Dublin, Wicklow, New Ross and Dun Laoghaire ports were not paid bonuses.


It had previously emerged that DAA chief executive Declan Collier was paid a bonus of €50,900 in 2009, bringing his salary to €568,100 when directors' fees, the bonus and pension contributions were taken into account. The DAA lost €13m that year. The company refused to say if Mr Collier would be paid a bonus for 2010.

Last night, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said: "I have made it absolutely clear to the chief executives and chairpersons of the agencies under my department that bonuses should not be paid."

However, as each company is independently controlled and managed, the minister is powerless to stop the payments.

Other commercial semi-state bodies, which are not under the aegis of the Department of Transport, confirmed that they had paid bonuses in 2009.

They include Bord Gais, Bord na Mona, the ESB, Arramara Teoranta, which harvests seaweed, Coillte and the VHI, which paid a total of €432,816.

The biggest bonus was to ESB boss Padraig McManus, who received almost €210,000.

Irish Independent

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