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Council workers paid €14m overtime

TEN Dublin City Council employees received an average of €44,000 each in overtime payments last year, the Herald can reveal.

The council forked out €14m in overtime in 2010, with the top 10 beneficiaries receiving more than €440,000 between them.

Three of these earners received more in overtime than their entire salaries.

The figures have been slammed by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (ISME) which says council overtime has spiralled out of control.

The top two overtime earners last year were two housing foremen who took home €63,000 and €61,000 in overtime payments respectively -- on top of salaries of more than €50,000.

The overtime payments for these two employees were based on additional hours worked, travel, and eating expenses.

And a waterworks superintendent, who took home a gross salary of €57,235, also earned €52,140 in overtime.

A council spokesperson today defended the payments, saying: "Dublin City Council has made significant efforts to reduce overtime as part of its drive to optimise resources whilst continuing to deliver high quality services in the difficult current economic climate.

"All overtime paid is paramount to providing and maintaining essential public services for the city."

However, Mark Fielding, chief executive of the ISME labelled the figures "crazy".

"This shows the lack of proper management in the council in relation to the control of public money.

"The fact that some staff members are earning more in overtime than their actual salary is ludicrous," he said.



employment

And Independent councillor Damian O'Farrell -- who obtained the figures -- said the amounts are a "slap in the face" for those unemployed.

"These amounts really do beg the question -- how much employment could be created if overtime was scaled back.

"These figures show that hundreds could be taken off the dole queues.

"I'm seeing people struggling to survive every day and then we have employees taking home thousands in overtime, it certainly spells a lack of fairness."

The council added that overtime comprised 4.5pc of the overall pay bill last year -- down from 7.76pc in 2008.

hnews@herald.ie