Sunday 17 December 2017

Revenue boss to get golden handshake of €381,000


The outgoing Revenue Commissioner Michael O'Grady will receive a golden handshake retirement package worth in excess of €381,000, all paid for by taxpayers, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

Mr O'Grady retired last Wednesday after 39 years' service in order to maximise his pension benefits and to avoid the pending government cuts to retirement packages for public servants.

His generous package comes despite the Revenue's disastrous public relations blunder that saw the agency send thousands of threatening letters to pensioners who had paid all their taxes as well as tens of thousands more letters to pensioners who had accidentally failed to pay taxes on pensions.

New figures obtained by this newspaper show that Mr O'Grady will receive an after-tax lump sum of €286,940 and an annual gross pension of €94,142.

According to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr O'Grady is retiring under normal civil service pension terms, meaning he will not receive any severance payment and is not benefitting from an added year's top-up.

As a result of Mr O'Grady's departure, a brother of Kilkenny hurling team manager Brian Cody has been named as one of the country's top tax officials.

Niall Cody will be employed as a commissioner for seven years and will be paid €180,000 a year.

The Kilkenny native -- a policy expert inside the 6,000-strong Revenue Commissioners, where he headed the planning division that looks after strategy -- is replacing Mr O'Grady as one of the three Revenue Commissioners who run the country's tax collection operations from offices in Dublin Castle.

Revenue bosses apologised to a Dail committee last month for the confusion and distress that the tax letters caused to some pensioners.

Mr O'Grady's was one of three big pay-offs to come to light last week. The outgoing Director of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby, whose proposed exit infuriated the Cabinet given he has not yet concluded the investigation into Anglo Irish Bank, is in line for a package worth more than €300,000.

In addition to his €75,356 annual pension, which he will receive for the rest of his life, Mr Appleby will receive a tax-free lump sum of €226,028.

On March 1, he will take up the position of acting director for a period of six months at the behest of the Government. The appointment will be on his current salary of €150,712.

The Director of the National Museum is also taking early retirement this month after 24 years at the helm of the institution.

Pat Wallace irately complained of being "ambushed" and "almost forced out" by the Government's early retirement scheme, which allows public servants who retire before the end of February to leave on preferential terms.

With more than 40 years of service, Mr Wallace is entitled to a full pension equivalent to half his salary of about €110,000 a year.

Defending the succession of big pay-offs to departing public servants, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said he has no choice but to pay them.

He said: "As I have said in the Dail, I could grandstand on these issues and pretend I can do things I cannot or I can tell the full and honest truth. I prefer to tell the full and honest truth."

Sunday Independent

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