Tuesday 12 December 2017

'We would be 'dismayed' if 'top-ups' affected fundraising' say hospital board

Our Lady's Childrens Hospital in Crumlin
Our Lady's Childrens Hospital in Crumlin
Fine Gael candidate for Dublin South-Central Ruairi McGinley
The management of Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin said it wanted to reiterate its backing for the planned home of the new national children's hospital

A board member of a leading children’s hospital has said he would be "dismayed" if the controversy surrounding 'top-up' payments to hospitals chiefs would affect fundraising.

Dublin Fine Gael councillor Ruairi McGinley sits on the board of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, and St James’s Hospital.

The CEO of Crumlin hospital Lorcan Birthistle receives a €30,000 top-up payment on top of his €110,000 salary, it has been revealed.

And Mr McGinley said on RTE’s Morning Ireland that the hospital board “wouldn’t have dealt” with the CEO’s salary.

“The board as such wouldn’t have dealt with the salary of the CEO. Essentially it would have been appointed before my current term.”

He said he would be “dismayed” if any of the publicity around the top-up payments to CEOs salaries had a negative impact on fundraising for the hospital.

“In terms of the commercial revenue being used to top it up to a reasonable rate, and a reasonable rate is a rate that would have applied to other CEOs of Dublin hospitals, I don’t have an issue with that myself.”

“My first point of call would be to change the HSE’s scale but my second point would be to make a business case that says the current salary is justified.”

“I certainly don’t believe that the issue of any amount being recouped arises. The salaries have been approved by the board, it is a limited company we do have responsibilities totally separate to the Minister.”

About 85 per cent of Crumlin hospital’s budget comes from public funding, he said.

“The public should know, and in fairness to Crumlin, we’ve disclosed the information. Other hospitals have not responded or are seeking legal advice.”

He said he does not believe that parking fees or clamping fees have been used to top up the CEO’s salary.

“From what I’ve read, I’d be confident that the commercial activities are related to two shops – there’s a coffee shop and a newsagents’ shop in the hospital.”

He said he would be “opposed” to the recouping of top up payments in Crumlin Children’s Hospital

“What I didn’t know was the HSE salary scale and certainly €110,000 is not an appropriate salary for a CEO of a national children’s hospital.”

“The HSE’s salary scale is not appropriate and that needs to be looked at.”

“The issue I would have is people in the public service earning more than the Taoiseach salary at €185,000 and I would reduce all salaries above this level.”

“His [Lorcan Birthistle’s] salary, interestingly enough, is at the lowest end of any of the numbers that have appeared.”

He said the issue of top-up payments doesn’t apply to St James’s Hospital.

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