Sunday 15 December 2019

Cowen's special adviser got €164,000 wages top-up

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

A SPECIAL adviser to former Taoiseach Brian Cowen got a €164,566 top-up to his civil service wages.

Joe Lennon made a claim for this amount in 2009, to bring his basic pay up to his special adviser salary of €221,929.

The special arrangement meant he did not lose his civil service status or existing pension entitlements.

Figures released to a Dail committee show that he made a claim for the special top-up allowance worth €83,391 the following year due to the public sector pay cut.

Secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach Martin Fraser told the Public Accounts Committee that the payment agreed for the former Taoiseach's special adviser was worth €104,939 a year.

This was the difference between his existing civil service salary and his new pay rate.

The Department of Finance rubberstamped the arrangement. Although the top-up was worth €104,939 a year, a claim for €164,566 was made in 2009. This was as arrears had been clocked up.

Mr Lennon's annual salary was €221,929 in 2009 and dropped to €188,640 the following year due to the public sector pay cut.

"This individual was previously a civil servant and his remuneration was calculated on the basis that he would receive his civil service salary, which remained pensionable, along with an additional allowance to bring him up to the salary of a special adviser," said Mr Fraser.

"As I recall, the annual sum in additional payments was €83,000, which brought his salary to €216,000."

Irish Independent

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