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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Five HSE staff got €200,000 in redundancy payoff deals

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

FIVE HSE managers received payments of more than €200,000 each under the recent redundancy and early retirement schemes, new figures reveal.

An assistant national director, who took the redundancy package, received a payment of €291,685, according to figures obtained by the Irish Independent. The figures for individual payments show the generous sums received by senior HSE staff.

Another manager, who took early retirement, received a lump sum of €229,724 and a manager from the National Hospital's Office who opted for the deal got €229,714.

A local health office manager who took the redundancy package got €209,794 under the scheme, which cost €101m in total.

About 2,006 managerial, administrative and support staff availed of the schemes, far short of the original target of 5,000.

The highest payouts went to managers who had long service and were on salaries of between €80,000 to €180,000.

The figures show that five other managers who availed of the schemes received payments ranging from €179,000 to €192,000.

The average lump-sum payment to administrative and managerial staff who took redundancy was €72,000 and €44,000 to support staff.

Benchmark

The scheme is expected to act as a benchmark for future redundancy programmes in the public service.

Details of the identities of those who received the payments were not released, but the health service lost some experienced staff, including John O'Brien, acting national director, and Phil Shovlin, chief executive of Temple Street Hospital. Paul Ledwidge, chief executive of St Michael's House, which is funded by the HSE, took early retirement.

The early retirement scheme was open to eligible employees who were at least 50 years of age by November 19 last. They received a lump sum and an immediate payment of pension entitlements on retirement.

The HSE scheme offered a severance payment of three weeks' pay per year of service in addition to statutory entitlements, subject to an overall limit of two years' pay.

The new Government plans to cut public service numbers by 20,000 by 2015 through a combination of voluntary redundancy and natural wastage.

Fine Gael in its pre-election manifesto planned to cut HSE numbers by 8,000 through redundancy and retirements.

The savings will be necessary to help fund the scheme to bring in universal health insurance for all.

There are still 110 senior managers in the HSE who are earning in excess of €100,000, even though they would have received pay cuts of up to 15pc. Five years ago there were about 100 senior managers earning more than €100,000. The knock-on effects of the exodus of workers means some areas of the service are understaffed.

Irish Independent

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