Thursday 23 November 2017

Semi-state bosses snub call for voluntary pay cut

Anne-Marie Walsh and Ailish O'Hora

Commercial semi-state bosses have snubbed a call from former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to take a voluntary pay cut which would bring their basic salary down to €250,000.

This would cut up to €136,000 from their pay packets while still leaving the high earners with generous pensions and benefits.

Just one boss -- Dick Fearn of Irish Rail -- said immediately after the December announcement by Mr Lenihan that he would take a pay cut, bringing his basic wage down from €256,000.

Noel Curran, who took up the position of RTE's new director general in February, also accepted a basic salary of €250,000 -- €11,000 less than his predecessor.

But most of the commercial semi-state companies contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday said their chief executives' salaries remained unchanged, while others refused to comment. The €250,000 cap on the salary of incoming bosses was announced by Mr Lenihan last December.

He said in December's Budget that the State's stake in these companies would be used to enforce the limit "within a reasonable time frame".

However, the Irish Independent has learned that Mr Lenihan made no attempt to pressurise these bosses into taking a cut in their salaries after his assurances on Budget Day.

Government sources confirmed that no letters were sent from the Department of Finance to the boards of these firms.

Without government pressure, the chief executives would have to volunteer to accept a reduction in their basic pay, which is legally protected in their employment contracts.

However, new recruits to their jobs will not earn more than the cap and this has already affected former RTE director-general Cathal Goan's successor Mr Curran.

Irish Independent

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