Dáil debates

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

2:00 pm

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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Question 115: To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if, he intends to review the payments and allowances paid to Stage agency chief executive officers; the changes, if any, he plans to make to these payments and allowances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20297/12]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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In June, 2011 the Government took two significant steps on the payment arrangements of CEOs in commercial State bodies. First, we introduced a general pay ceiling of €250,000 per annum in the case of newly appointed CEOs in commercial State companies, along with reductions to similar appointees in such companies with lesser pay ceiling levels. Second, we sought voluntary reductions in the remuneration levels of serving CEOs with salaries in excess of €250,000 per annum. The sole exception is in respect of the newly appointed CEOs is in the ESB, for whom a salary was approved which is proportionate to the reductions imposed generally.

The position in respect of already serving CEOs is that for contractual reasons the imposition of reduced salary rates could not be unilaterally proceeded with by Government. However, incumbent CEOs in the commercial State companies with a salary in excess of the general salary ceiling of €250,000 per annum were requested to make a voluntary waiver of salary of 15%, or to waive a lesser amount if the application of the full 15% reduction would have brought their salary below the €250,000 salary ceiling. All of the relevant incumbent CEOs whose salaries were in excess of €250,000 per annum agreed to the application of the waivers.

The current system of performance-related award schemes for the CEOs of commercial State companies is being reviewed in conjunction with the relevant overseeing Departments in order to consider whether it would be appropriate to amend the operation of these schemes and to provide for more direct input and oversight by Ministers.

With regard to CEOs of non-commercial State agencies, in June 2011 the Government introduced a general pay ceiling of €200,000 per annum for future appointments in the public service. This ceiling continues to apply. The policy could not, for contractual reasons, be applied to incumbents. A voluntary waiver of salary of 15%, or the ceiling of €200,000, was requested. Only a small number of such bodies continue, as they are legally entitled to do, to operate performance-related award schemes for their CEOs. The remuneration of CEOs in both the commercial and non-commercial State sectors has undergone significant reductions. Future policy developments on the determination of remuneration at the level of CEO will require ongoing consideration in the light of the changes that have already been introduced.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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The question was specifically related to State agencies, not commercial ones. I am working on the supposition that premium payments and allowances made to State agencies' CEOs are under review. Can the Minister tell us the total bill to the Exchequer in respect of payments to CEOs of State agencies? I am not referring to commercial bodies.

Will the pay ceiling apply to the CEO of the new water utility?

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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I am reviewing premium pay and performance-related pay and I do not have a closed mind. For some, the idea of performance-related pay or bonuses is entirely acceptable in the private sphere but unacceptable in the public sphere. I do not subscribe to that idea. It is not appropriate in the Civil Service but there may be some commercial companies where performance-related pay is worth examining. In that context, I am reviewing performance-related pay generally.

I can provide the Deputy with the pay rates that currently apply to every State agency in written form. The pay rate for the new chief executive of Irish Water has not been determined but, as of now, it will sit under the stewardship of the infrastructure in place of Bord Gáis Éireann.