Saturday 24 February 2018

Top civil servants here the best paid in Europe

Kevin Keane

TOP- and middle-ranking Irish civil servants enjoy higher salaries and pensions than almost all of their EU counterparts.

But lower ranking civil servants are underpaid, according to the 'Public Sector Trends 2011' report from the Institute for Public Administration.

The report shows that Ireland is paying above-average salaries for average performances.

Its author, Richard Boyle, said pay levels at the top of the civil service were "out of kilter with the lower levels".

"It's a relatively small number of civil servants we are talking about, the top levels are principal officers like the secretary generals of government departments," he said.

"My sense would be that, if you look at our performance, we are round about the European average. Therefore, you would expect our pay overall to not be out of line with the overall average."

Under the Croke Park deal, public servants' pay cannot be cut until after 2014 following an average 6pc reduction last year.

But there is a possibility that it could be reduced in a crisis situation as the Troika-bailout deal stipulates that pay can be cut if payroll targets are not met.

Doubled

Blair Horan, the general secretary of the CPSU, which represents lower ranking civil servants, said he was not surprised by the report's findings.

"It was a feature of what happened here in Ireland where, in my opinion, the better-off took too much and killed the golden goose, leaving the lower paid behind."

The number of people working in the public service has fallen by 6pc since 2008.

Cutbacks have also had an effect on the pay and pensions bill. It more than doubled from €8.6bn in 2000 to €18.8bn in 2008, but has come under control since then, decreasing by more than €1.5bn to €17.1bn this year.

Two-thirds of all civil servants, or 198,000 people, are employed in the teaching and healthcare sectors.

Unsurprisingly, this is reflected in their share of the pay bill. A full three-quarters of all expenditure goes on these sectors, with health (42pc) proving more expensive than education (33pc).

The IPA's Richard Boyle said: "Overall, Ireland is about average, maybe slightly above average, in terms of performance, which for a small country in the current economic climate is probably not a bad situation to be in."

Irish Independent

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