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Fianna Fáil calls on Coillte CEO to take pay cut

The call comes as pressure grows for David Gunning to cut his near €300,000 annual salary at the forestry body.

David Gunning looks on as Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks to the media in September.
David Gunning looks on as Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks to the media in September.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said that Coillte CEO David Gunning must take a pay cut, describing his actions as “mind boggling” and “totally unacceptable”.

The call comes as Gunning was last night criticised by Taoiseach Enda Kenny after it emerged on Friday that he is the only chief of a semi-state body on a salary of over €250,000 who has not voluntarily taken a 15 per cent pay cut as requested by the government in June.

Despite CEOs at other semi-state bodies agreeing to take the cut, Coillte has said that no decision on the matter has been taken as yet. The government has acted on legal advice in not compulsorily imposing the cut.

In a statement today, Fianna Fáil’s agriculture spokesman, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said that Gunning is currently paid €297,000 and received a bonus of  €56, 435 in 2008 despite a request from then Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith that the bonus should not be paid.

“It is totally unacceptable in the current economic circumstances that any CEO of a semi-state organisation would not, at the very least, take the 15 per cent pay reduction being requested by the Government.

“This attitude is mind boggling at a time when many families are struggling due to severe financial pressures as Christmas approaches.”

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Ó Domhnaill called on the board of the forestry body to address the issue if Gunning does not volunteer to take the pay cut and said he would attempt to raise the issue at a meeting of the Dáil’s Agriculture Committee on Tuesday.

Read: Coillte boss under pressure to take pay cut >


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Hugh O'Connell

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