Wednesday 13 December 2017

University top brass handed 177 unofficial pay top-ups

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

UNIVERSITIES introduced a total of 177 unauthorised salary top-ups for senior management staff over a 10-year period before they were obliged to stop them in 2009.

That does not include other irregular payments, such as the University of Limerick (UL) paying three people presidential salaries of €230,000 each at the same time in 2007-08.

The full extent of the allowances handed out without official approval has been revealed in a letter to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), but it does not reveal the total cost over the period.

University College Dublin (UCD) tops the list, accounting for 128 of the allowances, five times the 27 paid at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

There were 14 at University College Cork (UCC) , with six at NUI Galway and two at UL.

The payment of an allowance by Dublin City University (DCU) for the post of secretary has also been highlighted, while NUI Maynooth was alone among the seven universities in having no unauthorised allowance recorded.

The full total of unsanctioned allowances approved by the universities is outlined in a letter from Department of Education assistant secretary Kevin McCarthy to the PAC.

The letter gives the number and value of decisions taken each year at the institutions to introduce new unsanctioned allowances between 1999-2008, but it does not say for how long they were paid, or the total cost.

However, it has already emerged that UCD paid almost €1.6m in unauthorised allowances to staff over the 10-year period. Discussions on their repayment are under way between UCD and the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

UCD also paid €266,000 in performance bonuses between 2005 and 2008. Most of the UCD payments were introduced in 2004 and 2005.

In 2008 annual unsanctioned allowances amounts paid at UCD included €35,0000 for the registrar, €25,000 for the college principals and vice-presidents, €15,000 for vice-principals, €13,000 for the president and between €7,000 and €1,800 for heads of schools.

Unacceptable

In 2008, TCD paid annual amounts of €16,000 for the posts of vice-provost, bursar and heads of schools, while at UCC between €5,000 and €14,000 was handed out to vice-presidents, heads of college and some professors. In the same year, NUI Galway paid €14,000 and €12,000 to two vice-presidents.

Mr McCarthy told the committee that the UL arrangements were "unacceptable and the department has written to the president of UL and requested a detailed report on how he proposes to address the matter, including the recoupment of unapproved payments".

Irish Independent

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