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29 Irish Water staff to get 15pc of salary bonus

UNDER-FIRE Irish Water boss John Tierney will be forced to justify the bonus arrangements for 29 senior staff at the utility.

It emerged today that the government has written to the former Dublin City Manager and asked what targets must be met before the bonuses are paid out.

The 29 staff members qualify for a payment of up to 15 per cent on top of their salaries. A further 65 staff could be paid an additional 14pc.

Labour TD Kevin Humphreys, who obtained the figures, today said a number of questions remain unanswered.

"We need to find out exactly who is receiving the 15pc bonuses and the 14pc bonuses. We have to find out what their role is," he told Newstalk.

Mr Tierney is due to appear in front of the Oireachtas Environment Committee in February when he will be quizzed over the bonus culture.

It has emerged that a car allowance of €10,500 is being paid to 27 senior managers, while €20,000 was racked up on just two company credit cards last year.

One of the cards was utilised by Mr Tierney, who has also come under massive pressure for commissioning tens of millions of euro in consultancy spending. Mr Tierney is also facing serious questions over his role in the Poolbeg scandal in Dublin 4.

EXTRAVAGANT

Figures provided to Mr Humphreys lay bare the extravagant bonuses and salaries set to be paid to Irish Water staff.

It emerged that:

- 29 Irish Water staff, including Mr Tierney, are on salaries of over €100,000

- 165 staff will qualify for bonuses of up to 6.5pc of their salary, while some 65 staff are set be paid an extra 14pc

- Incredibly, 29 Irish Water bosses are in line to be paid an additional 15pc in bonuses

- All 309 staff at the utility are eligible to be paid bonuses.

The revelations will further damage the credibility of Irish Water as it seeks to retain the confidence of the Irish public.

The information also shows that 59 staff had previously worked with Bord Gais while some 107 had worked in local authorities.

It also reveals 139 staff were recruited externally and five were based in the Department of the Environment.

A total of 183 staff are on less than €70,000.

While details of the staff numbers and salaries were previously revealed, this is the the first time information surrounding car allowances and credit cards has emerged.

In response to Deputy Humphreys, the Department of the Environment said the car allowance is "in lieu" of mileage expenses.

"A car allowance of €10,500 is paid to 27 senior managers who are required to use their own cars in the course of their duties with Irish Water.

"This is a fully taxable non-pensionable allowance, subject to tax, PRSI and USC. This is in lieu of the payment of mileage expenses as would pertain in other circumstances, as the company views this as a more cost-effective option."

On credit cards, the department said the cards have been issued to Mr Tierney and the head of customer operations.

"Irish Water has confirmed that while no member of staff has a debit or charge card, two credit cards have been issued for business use in Irish Water. These cards are for company purchases or costs on behalf of the business," a statement said.

"The cards have been issued in the name of the managing director and the head of customer operations. In 2013 approximately €10,000 was spent on each card. The only commitment to date in 2014 relates to an amount of €375. Irish Water is preparing a breakdown of the various payments."

noconnor@herald.ie


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