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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Public sector elite enjoy pay splurge

Golden circle of 66 earn more than Taoiseach, with many on €500,000

DANIEL McCONNELL, Chief Reporter

A 'GOLDEN Circle' of 66 elite public servants are being paid more than the Taoiseach's salary of €228,466, with many getting over €500,000 a year, the Sunday Independent can reveal. This is in spite of the country's economic demise and the arrival of the IMF.

Despite the shock expressed by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin last week about the huge salaries paid to this elite, a majority of the Irish people believes the new Government will not tackle those at the top of the public sector over their pay, the latest Quantum Research poll reveals.

According to the latest figures obtained by this newspaper, 66 top public servants are now each being paid more than the Taoiseach. More than 200 state employees are now getting over €200,000.

The salary excess at the top of the judiciary, semi-state organisations and government departments means that Irish officials are substantially better paid than their British and European counterparts.

Traditionally, the salary levels of the Taoiseach and the Chief Justice were the maximum paid to anybody in the public sector, but such conventions were spectacularly cast aside during the boom years.

The head of the National Treasury Management Agency, John Corrigan, has a total package worth in the region of ¿1m. This includes his salary of €490,000, 80 per cent bonus and pension contributions.

The chief executive of Nama, Brendan McDonagh, has a package estimated to be worth more than €840,000. He was paid €430,000 last year, plus a bonus of 60 per cent of salary. Mr Corrigan and Mr McDonagh are the top two earners.

According to our latest poll, a majority of the Irish people think the culture of entitlement was too ingrained and that the Government will be unwilling to tackle it.

Many said they did not trust politicians or the political system to take on the 'Golden Circle', who "control Irish society".

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