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Howlin must tackle excessive pay and pensions for public sector top dogs – McDonald

25 January, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

The Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on Minister Howlin to once and for all tackle excessive pay and pensions for top dogs across the public sector.

Deputy McDonald was responding to the announcement that yet another Government Department Secretary General is about to retire early with a bonanza pension pay off.

Deputy McDonald said

“Minister Howlin keeps talking the talk of reform but when it comes to breaking the culture of entitlement that still prevails across the upper echelons of the public sector he just can’t walk the walk.

“Sections 6 and 7 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act of 1963 enable the Minister to stop gifting Secretaries General up to ten added years and special severance gratuity payments worth half a year’s salary, on top of a bumper lump sum and annual pension worth in excess of €100,000.

“The bulk of Minister Howlin’s ‘reform’ announcements to date are simply a catch up mechanism for the public sector. Shared services, e-Government, enhanced reporting and improved procurement have been in place in the private sector for the last twenty years. The public sector is simply catching up. There is a big difference between reform and catch-up and when it comes to real reform Minister Howlin baulks.

“Breaking the culture of entitlement by facing down excessive pay and pensions across the public sector including Government Ministers and office holders, Secretaries Generals, City and County Managers, Hospital Consultants, VEC Chiefs, State Agency CEO’s and a myriad of senior management who enjoy the big bucks would be a real reform measure.

“Senior public servants remuneration in this state is over 7 times that of administrative staff compared to Nordic countries where the ratio is 3.5 times greater. Middle management remuneration is four times that of administrative staff compared to Nordic countries where the ratio is two times greater.

“A recent IPA research document notes a study that suggests the management capacity of the Irish government is slightly below EU average with policy implementation identified as a particular challenge. So the question must be asked - why on earth are they still in receipt of excessively generous pay and pension packages.”

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