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One hundred university staff still paid more than €200,000 wage cap

Three top academics at Irish universities are each earning more than a quarter of a million euro a year.

UCC accounted for more than a third of the high earners
UCC accounted for more than a third of the high earners
Image: James Cridland via Flickr

ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE working in Ireland’s third-level institutions are still enjoying salaries higher than the State wage cap of €200,000, it has emerged.

Three of those take home more than a quarter of a million euro a year – two at Trinity and one at UCD. However, the largest number of people on €200,000-plus salaries are at UCC, which accounts for just over a third.

Twenty are working at Trinity and 21 at NUI Galway, with UCD employing 17 and the University of Limerick five. Ireland’s 18 other third-level institutions pay nobody more than €200,000, with only 35 employees between them on salaries of €150,000-plus.

In June, public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin announced that all new recruits to senior positions the public service – such as top university lecturers – would have their wages capped at €200,000. The Government also looked for a voluntary 15 per cent reduction among existing high earners.

According to the Department of Education, 89 of the 100 employees are medical consultants who are employed as academics, whose pay is set by contracts agreed with the Department of Health.

Four are heads of universities, and the remaining seven are appointments made under Section 25 of the Universities Act – which allows institutions to go above standard public-sector pay if their governing bodies are satisfied that the employee is crucial to the university’s needs.

The Department told TheJournal.ie that a pay ceiling cannot be imposed on appointments made under such provisions, but added: “A review of the mechanisms and procedures underpinning such appointments is being undertaken.” It continued in a statement:

The government is taking measures to reduce salary costs at the highest levels across the public sector through the application of salary ceilings. Policy on rates of pay in the Education sector forms part of wider public pay policy.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers could not be reached for comment.

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