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Retired dept chief gets €121k to return

A RETIRED civil servant has earned almost €121,000 on a part-time contract, on top of his €60,000 a year pension.

Martin Heraghty, assistant secretary in the Department of Agriculture, has earned almost €6,000 a month on a temporary contract for his old job since taking an incentivised early retirement package in 2010.

He was immediately "re-engaged", after retiring from his former position with a lump sum payment and an annual pension of €60,000.

Mr Heraghty says the department asked him to continue in the post, but he had fully intended retiring from the position.

"I am restricted in the number of days I can work, but other than that I am doing the full job within the department."

Responsibility

Under public sector rules, when pensioners are rehired, their combined pay and pension cannot be more than their salary when they retired.

Some have their pension reduced to fit in with the ruling, but in Mr Heraghty's case his hours have been restricted.

He is one of six assistant secretaries in the department and has responsibility for meat and milk policy and hygiene, dairy controls, food safety liaison with Northern Ireland and food industry development.

His previous salary was on the scale between €131,748 and €150,712. He took early retirement under the Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement, which was offered to civil servants over 50 in 2009-10.

The offer included an immediate pension based on years of service plus a 10pc lump sum, with the 90pc lump sum balance to be paid at the normal retirement age of 60 or 65.

Mr Heraghty's contract is due to run out in October, but he could not say if the department would want him to stay beyond that or if he would be willing to sign another contract.

His duties included accompanying Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on his trip to China last month.

The department says that it has lost six assistant secretaries since the moratorium on recruitment was introduced and that only two of these have been replaced.

In a statement it points out that, given the importance of food production and exports to economic recovery, along with Ireland's presidency of the EU next year and reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, the department needs to be well positioned at senior level to cope with the work involved.

csheehy@herald.ie


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