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Paid-off council chief is rehired for Luas project

A FORMER Dun Laoghaire council boss been rehired to work on behalf of the City Council despite taking a severance package in 2009.

The Herald has learned that Tom Loftus, who previously earned a six-figure salary, is now working for the taxpayer-funded Railway Procurement Agency (RPA).

Mr Loftus will coordinate transportation work on behalf of Dublin City Council -- because the authority does not have the necessary staff to do so.

His appointment is the latest example of retired public servants being hired by State bodies to take up plum positions -- despite leaving their jobs with significant severance packages.

However both the RPA and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) have refused to divulge details of Mr Loftus's salary and severance package, even though both are footed by the taxpayer.

A spokesman for the agency also turned down a request to speak to Mr Loftus, adding that he is "on holiday".

Mr Loftus spent several years as as director of transportation in DLRCC where he earned a salary in the region of €100,000.

After stepping down with a severance package in October 2009, he was hired by the RPA on March 5.

A spokesman for the body today said that Mr Loftus is carrying out "essential work" in relation to the development of the Luas Broombridge project.

He told the Herald: "There is nothing untoward about Mr Loftus being rehired. I couldn't divulge details of his salary but what I would say is that it is very much within the norm and is of a very responsible rate.

"He has a vast amount of experience and carries out his work efficiently and effectively."

Mr Loftus was hired by the RPA to "coordinate activities" on behalf of Dublin City Council.

Meanwhile, the appointment was criticised by Dun Laoghaire TD, Richard Boyd Barrett.

He told the Herald: "I certainly share the public's frustration in relation to the rehiring of ex-council staff and public sector workers. People are irked by the practice and is certainly widespread."

hnews@herald.ie