herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Chiefs silent on Howlin's calls for salary cuts

ALL QUIET: Minister urged semi-state bosses to take 15pc 'solidarity' hit

THE silence has been deafening from highly paid semi-State bosses after Brendan Howlin asked them to take a voluntary pay cut.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Mr Howlin appealed to the business chiefs -- who also have gold-plated pensions -- to demonstrate "solidarity" by taking a 15pc salary reduction.

However, none of them has issued a public response to the Labour TD.

Mr Howlin made the appeal as he announced salary caps for newly recruited senior civil servants, judges and semi-State chief executives.

He also announced a general salary cap of €250,000 for the bosses of 28 other semi-State bodies in the future.



Severe

The exception will be the ESB where the chief executive will be paid around €319,000.

Mr Howlin insisted, because of the "ongoing severe economic conditions facing the country", there is a need for leadership from those in prominent public jobs.

Under the new rules, senior civil servants will be paid a maximum of €200,000.

All 15 secretaries general who head Government departments have volunteered to comply with the stipulation, bringing their salaries into line with Taoiseach Enda Kenny's pay packet.

Mr Kenny cut his own pay to €200,000 when he took office.

ESB boss Padraig McManus, who receives a salary of €400,000, was conspicuous by his silence. A 15pc reduction in his income would mean his pay would go down from €399,943 to €339,951.

Mr McManus, who will be retiring shortly, has taken a salary reduction of 15pc over the last two years.

An Post chief executive Donal Connell has a basic salary of €386,000 but has also not commented.

Among the others who have yet to reveal their intentions is Bord Gais chief executive John Mullins who earns €265,000.

However, the new rules only apply to the salaries and not bonuses and pensions which are subject to another review.

Mr McManus took a 10pc pay cut in 2009 and a 5pc cut in January this year. He had no further comment on the proposals by Brendan Howlin.

The Government is hoping that the publication of the new salary caps will increase the pressure on the current bosses to take voluntary reductions.

comurphy@herald.ie

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