Saturday 20 January 2018

Dr Ruairi Hanley: Why only a dose of harsh medicine can cure the ills that afflict struggling IMO

IN April 2012, the Irish Medical Organisation held its annual conference in Killarney. Addressing members, the incoming president Dr Paul McKeown made the following remarks about his chief executive: "I want to particularly single out George McNeice; I have found George to be a very wise and able negotiator and a very decent human being. His quiet strength continuously inspires me."

Eight months after this speech, it emerged that Mr McNeice was in receipt of a salary package worth almost €500,000 per annum. These figures had never been revealed to IMO members who were funding this largesse. Worse was to follow as it became clear the chief executive also had a contractual pension agreement in place reported to be worth an incredible €25m. (Following talks, this was subsequently reduced to a mere €9.7m).

The IMO president, who previously found the CEO "inspiring", now informed doctors of his "fury" at this appalling situation. The blame was quickly cast in the direction of a former president of the organisation, who is now deceased and therefore not in a position to defend himself. Members are apparently expected to believe that all subsequent IMO leaders bear no responsibility whatsoever for this financial catastrophe.

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