Thursday 16 August 2018

Ex-Irish Water boss walked away with €573,000 pay-off

Former Irish Water boss John Tierney stepped down last year. Photo: Mark Condren
Former Irish Water boss John Tierney stepped down last year. Photo: Mark Condren

Gordon Deegan

Former Irish Water managing director John Tierney walked away from the controversial utility with a pay-off worth almost €600,000 last year.

That is according to the utility's just-published 2016 annual report which shows Mr Tierney received a pay-off worth €573,000 - much of it pension related - when he stepped down in April last year.

The pay-off is made up of a €100,000 severance payment and an additional €473,000 in defined benefit pension contributions.

A note attached to what Mr Tierney received states the "termination benefits relate to the former managing director and are binding contractual entitlements inherited from his previous employment with Dublin City Council".

The note adds: "They comprise a severance benefit payable to Mr Tierney and a payment due to the Ervia Defined Benefit Scheme to cover post-retirement pension entitlements, both arising from the terms of his Dublin City Council employment arrangements."

Mr Tierney's total package from January to April 28 last year totalled €655,000, made up of €67,000 in basic salary for the four months, €473,000 in 'termination benefits - defined benefit pension contributions payable'; €100,000 in 'termination benefits - severance', €11,000 in pension contributions made on behalf of the managing director and €4,000 in 'other benefits, including cost of company car and health insurance'.

Irish Water last night stressed Mr Tierney did not receive a "pay-off" and some of the pension payments were being made to the Ervia pension scheme.

Mr Tierney stepped down from Irish Water last year after three years at the helm of the company.

The former Dublin City manager, who worked in local government for 36 years before joining Irish Water, was paid a €200,000 annual salary when he was appointed by the former environment minister Phil Hogan.

As with all senior civil servants and semi-State chiefs, he was entitled to a severance package worth one and a half times his salary on retirement.

He was also entitled to receive an annual pension payment based on half his salary on retirement.

This was also in line with payments received by all civil servants.

Around the time of his retirement last year, Irish Water said Mr Tierney's retirement arrangements were the same terms that would have applied had he retired as the Dublin City manager.

At the time, Irish Water said Mr Tierney "carried his full service to his new employer and, in line with Government guidelines regarding the transfer of staff from local authorities to Irish Water, his retirement arrangements are exactly the same terms that would have applied had he retired as Dublin City manager".

Mr Tierney was given a three-year contract when he was appointed in January 2013.

The annual accounts show pre-tax profits at Irish Water increased more than three-fold last year to €54m in spite of water charges being axed.

The utility's revenues for the year increased by 6.5pc, going from €851m to €906m.

The accounts show Irish Water's revenues from domestic users plummeted from €232.5m to €22.3m as a result of the Government decision to axe water charges.

However, this cost the Government €253m as its contribution to Irish Water last year increased from €399m in 2015 to €652m in 2016.

Income from non-domestic users increased from €219.87m to €231.7m.

The directors' report states: "The company received €836m in cash funding from the Government during 2016, €652m in Government subvention recognised in revenue, plus a Government cash equity contribution of €184m."

Irish Independent

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