Saturday 17 February 2018

Top mediator gets €786 a day to handle civil service disputes

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THE head of the body that sorts out messy civil service disputes is earning a fee of €786 per day.

The Civil Service Arbitration Board deals with industrial disputes involving civil servants, teachers, gardai and the Defence Forces.

New figures show that its chair, senior counsel Turlough O'Donnell, gets paid €786 for each day it sits, while regular members of the board get €416.

One of the body's most high-profile rulings last year was the striking down of plans by the Government to reduce privilege days for civil servants. Mr O'Donnell is one of the country's top mediators and former chairman of the Bar Council. He is a brother of Supreme court Judge Donal O'Donnell.

A legal source said last night that although a daily fee of €786 might appear high to a layperson, it was "quite good value for money" given the scale of legal fees elsewhere. High-profile barristers can earn up to €2,500 per day in court. There are also substantial fees for members of the board set up to decide on compensation awards for survivors of abuse in industrial schools.

The Residential Institutions Redress Board pays its members €618 each per sitting day.

The figures were disclosed in response to questions by Independent Dublin South TD Shane Ross about state board appointments. Jobs Minister Richard Bruton confirmed to him that he had appointed Indecon managing partner and economist Alan Gray to the board of IDA Ireland.


Mr Gray came to public attention when it was revealed last year that he had attended a dinner with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick in Druids Glen, Co Wicklow, in July 2008 -- two months before Anglo was included in the state banking guarantee.

Mr Gray, who was on the board of the Central Bank at the time, said there was no discussion of banking issues or Anglo Irish Bank at any point. Mr Cowen also said the same.

Mr Bruton had publicly sought expressions of interest for the vacant positions on the IDA Ireland board. Mr Gray opted to waive the annual €11,970 fee when he took up his appointment.

Irish Independent

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