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The former head of Irish Water walked away with a retirement package of nearly €600,000 last year

The majority of the retirement package received by John Tierney when he left Irish Water came from pension entitlements.

John Tierney left Irish Water last year
John Tierney left Irish Water last year
Image: Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie

FORMER IRISH WATER Managing Director, John Tierney walked away from the controversial utility with a retirement package of almost €600,000 last year.

That is according to the utility’s just published 2016 annual report which shows that Tierney received a retirement package of €573,000 – much of it pension related – when he stepped down in April of last year.

The sum of €573,000 is made up of a €100,000 severance payment and an additional €473,000 in defined benefit pension contributions payable.

A note attached to what Tierney received states that the “termination benefits relate to the former Managing Director and are binding contractual entitlements inherited from his previous employment with Dublin City Council”.

The note adds: “They comprise a severance benefit payable to Mr Tierney and a payment due to the Ervia Defined Benefit Scheme to cover post-retirement pension entitlements, both arising from the terms of his Dublin City Council employment arrangements.”

Tierney’s total package from January to 28 April last year totalled €655,000 made up of €67,000 in basic salary for the four months, €473,000 in termination benefits – defined benefit pension contributions payable; €100,000 in termination benefits – severance, €11,000 in pension contributions made on behalf of the Managing Director and €4,000 in other benefits, including cost of company car and health insurance.

Tierney stepped down from Irish Water last year after three years at the helm of the company.

The former Dublin City manager, who worked in local government for 36 years before joining Irish Water, was paid a €200,000 annual salary when he was appointed by the former environment minister Phil Hogan.

As with all senior civil servants and semi-state chiefs, he was entitled to a severance package worth one and-a-half times his salary on retirement.

He was also entitled to receive an annual pension payment based on half his salary on retirement. This was also in line with payments received by all civil servants.

Around the time of his retirement last year, Irish Water stated that Tierney’s retirement arrangements were “exactly the same terms that would have applied had he retired as the Dublin City manager”.

At the time, Irish Water stated that Tierney “carried his full service to his new employer and, in line with government guidelines regarding the transfer of staff from local authorities to Irish Water, his retirement arrangements are exactly the same terms that would have applied had he retired as Dublin City manager”.

Tierney was given a three-year contract when he was appointed in January 2013.

The annual accounts show that pre-tax profits at Irish Water increased more than three-fold last year to €54 million in spite of water charges being axed.

The utility’s revenues for the year increased by 6.5%, going from €851 million to €906 million.

The accounts show that Irish Water’s revenues from domestic users plummeted from €232.5 million to €22.3 million as a result of the government decision to axe water charges.

However, this cost the government €253 million as its contribution to Irish Water last year increased from €399 million in 2015 to €652 million.

Income from non-domestic users increased from €219.87 million to €231.7 million.

The directors’ report states: “The Company received €836 million in cash funding from the government during 2016, €652 million in government subvention recognised in revenue plus a government cash equity contribution of €184 million.

“In addition, a debt facility of €96 million received from the government in 2015 was converted to a capital contribution during 2016.”

Read: Confirmed: Irish Water to refund water charges to customers by Christmas

Read: ‘It’s a nuisance’: Thousands of homes and businesses in Kerry are still without water

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Gordon Deegan

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