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NTMA, Nama chiefs earn more than Taoiseach

THE full extent of the pay and bonus bonanza at the State's debt controller, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), and bad bank Nama is today revealed for the first time, with 122 senior personnel being paid in excess of €100,000.

In total, the full official figures show that within the two agencies, 17 people, including NTMA boss John Corrigan and Nama boss Brendan McDonagh, are being paid more than the Taoiseach's salary of €200,000, with 14 being paid in excess of €250,000.

Another 44 are receiving over €150,000, and another 47 senior managers and executives within the NTMA and Nama are being paid in excess of €100,000.

Despite repeated refusals in the past to disclose salary and bonus details of top personnel within the agency, which Taoiseach Enda Kenny said operated "under a veil of secrecy", demands from the public and new finance ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin have led to the disclosure.

According to the figures, released in a parliamentary question to Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews, another 235 staff members are paid below €100,000.

Brendan Howlin, the Public Expenditure Minister, had demanded full transparency on the issue of salaries and bonuses at the NTMA, as it emerged 84 per cent of staff within the agency received bonuses last year.

Mr Howlin has sought a voluntary 15 per cent pay reduction from a number of senior management figures within the agency.

However, yesterday, Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath said the time had come for the NTMA to be brought back in under direct political control to end the culture of "excessive salaries".

"Volunteering salary reductions and bonuses is not enough any more. We need more direct political control, and that requires legislation. These salaries are totally excessive particularly when Ireland is not borrowing on the international markets," he told the Sunday Independent.

The public controversy over the salaries and bonuses to top people led to the surrendering of bonuses worth over €300,000 by Mr Corrigan and Mr McDonagh.

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The late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan approved the NTMA's bonuses but senior executives decided to forego them in February this year.

In total, nine of the most senior executives at the NTMA waived bonuses worth €905,000 for last year.

A spokesman said the agency has reduced its payroll by 11 per cent since 2009.

The NTMA, when it was set up, was deliberately positioned outside of the wider public service structures with the freedom to set salary and bonus levels for its staff. There has been a longstanding battle between it and the Department of Finance over the level of transparency with regard to senior salaries.

According to Mr Noonan, under the NTMA business model, its remuneration structure is such that there are no general pay grades and no pay scales and all staff are on individually negotiated contracts.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government had inherited a "bonus culture" for public sector and semi-state employees that had been in place for a "very long time".

Mr Gilmore said the Government would not tolerate a bonus culture and had taken steps to "end the culture of overpayment and the culture of bonuses that have applied in areas of our public sector".

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