herald

Monday 21 January 2019

Airport chief surrenders €106k in bonus showdown

THE Government's hardline stance on airport chief Declan Collier's bonus has sent a message to other semi-State bosses, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said today.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) boss surrendered his controversial €106,000 bonus after a battle of wills with Mr Varadkar.

And the Minister said today the controversy showed that the Government is serious about bonuses not being paid for 2010.

While most of the other semi-State bosses "have already agreed to forego" the payments, a message has been sent to the "outstanding ones", Mr Varadkar said.

"What it does do is send a message to the companies that are outstanding who still haven't made a decision yet on bonuses that the Government is serious about its policies and when we say that we don't want bonuses paid for 2010 we mean that.



Pressure

"We're serious about the reductions in pay that are going to happen next year under the new contracts and as well we want to have State boards that are willing and able to respect Government policy."

Mr Varadkar added he still had not had a discussion with Mr Collier about a 15pc voluntary salary reduction outlined last week by Public Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.

The DAA chief executive agreed to give up the bonus after coming under intense pressure.

There was public uproar when it had appeared he would ignore Government policy and accept the bonus.

But following a round of meetings over the weekend, Mr Collier agreed to forego the money.

Mr Varadkar and Finance Minister Michael Noonan had told DAA board members to consider their positions in light of the controversy.

However, a statement from the DAA was then released, saying Mr Collier had decided to give up the payment.

It said the decision was made "in light of prevailing national economic circumstances".

The statement added that the board had approved the payment to Mr Collier "based on the achievement, as per his contract, of rigorous performance-related targets that year".

Mr Collier's package for 2010 would have totalled €612,500 if he had accepted the bonus.

It included a basic salary of €308,000, €106,000 in deferred bonuses and a further €182,000 in pension contributions and taxable benefits.He was also paid director's fees of nearly €16,000.

It was nearly 8pc more than he got in 2009.

Mr Varadkar told former DAA chairman David Dilger in May that the bonus was not to be paid.

When the issue became public, the minister demanded Mr Collier voluntarily give it up or that the board ask for it back.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers endured lengthy queues at Dublin Airport's Terminal 1 today due to one of the departure gates being closed.

As they headed off to sunnier climes, thousands of passengers were delayed going through the rigorous security checks.

With the opening of Terminal 2, the airport is trying to "streamline" its operation and is consolidating the two departure gates in the older building into one location, a DAA spokeswoman said.

comurphy@herald.ie

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