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€100k Amnesty Ireland boss has 'no issue' with €50k pay cut bid

AMNESTY International Ireland chief executive Colm O'Gorman has said he has "no issue" with an attempt to slash his annual salary by more than €50,000 a year.

He was speaking ahead of a motion to cut his pay, which stands at almost €100,000, due before the organisation's Annual Conference in Dublin today.

Kieran O'Sullivan, who made the proposal, told the Herald that in today's economic climate, a salary of €99,000 a year was too much.

EXCESSIVE

"Its excessive," he added. "He should be paid the average wage of a staff member. It's not necessary to equate wages with responsibility. Most people are not motivated solely by money."

Mr O'Sullivan said there was "incredible job satisfaction being a director of Amnesty" and that he was confident his motion had a chance.

Asked about the motion, Mr O'Gorman responded he was "very proud of the fact that I work for an organisation where issues like this can be fully and publicly discussed. That's how it should be".

He explained that Amnesty was a membership-based organisation with a board elected at the annual conference.

Decisions about direction, strategy and human rights are decided by management at both national and international level.

The elected board is responsible for governance and they delegate responsibility for running the organisation to the chief executive. In that role, Mr O'Gorman stressed he was "responsible to them".

He said his salary was a matter for the board and that it was important in a democratic organisation that motions such as the one tabled should be discussed. He will not be taking part in the discussion.

The chief executive also pointed out that all of the top salaries of the organisation are detailed on their website.

In tabling the motion Mr O'Sullivan pointed out that the next grade to Mr O'Gorman is €51,000, and he questioned the gap between the two.

Mr O'Gorman said he was right to question the gap. He added there was also a position carrying a salary of €72,000 which had been vacated last year but the grade still existed.

The motion was prompted by recent controversies over the wages of chief executives of Irish charities.

EXTRAORDINARY

Mr O'Sullivan said: "The goodwill of the Irish people has been tested by the recent controversies over the excessive salaries of charity executives.

"Unless an extraordinary action is taken to restore this goodwill, there is a serious danger of a collapse.

"There are other public figures who take the average wage, and Amnesty International is uniquely positioned to restore the goodwill the voluntary sector depends on."

CSHEEHY@HERALD.IE


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