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Thursday 8 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland Former Dublin City Council manager John Fitzgerald was given a gratuity severance payment of €85,214.50 when he stepped down in 2006.
# Severance
Retiring council bosses given €1.15 million in gratuity payments
Government figures show that of the 28 county council managers who have retired since 2000, 19 were given gratuity payments.

COUNTY COUNCIL MANAGERS who retired since the turn of the millennium have been paid over €1.15 million in special gratuity payments when they retired, new figures have shown.

Data published by environment minister Phil Hogan shows that of the 28 managers of city and county councils who stepped down from the public service since January 2000, 19 were given gratuity payments on top of their regular pension lump sums.

Furthermore, 11 managers – including nine of the ones who had been given the one-off gratuity bonuses – were also given ‘added years’, where pensions were calculated based on more years’ service than the manager had actually given.

These ‘added years’ are awarded to managers who have not served the maximum 40 years of service taken into account when calculating pension contributions, and where the added years do not bring that manager beyond the age of 65 when they would be forced to retire anyway.

The top gratuity payment went to John Fitzgerald, who was given a gratuity sum of €85,214.50 when he retired from Dublin City Council in June 2006 aged 60. Fitzgerald was also given added years.

Since then Fitzgerald has continued to act in other public roles, including as chairman of An Post, chairman of the National Transport Authority, and board roles in the HSE and the Grangegorman Development Authority.

Young retirees

Cork city manager Joe Gavin, who retired in August 2010, got the next-highest gratuity payment at €78,983.50; in his case no years were added to his pension as he had already served the maximum 40 years in the public service.

Cork county manager Maurice Moloney, who stepped down aged 63 in December 2006, received a gratuity payment of €76,124.50. Alec Fleming, who stepped down as Clare County manager in 2009, aged 55, received both added years and a gratuity of €73,422.50.

The youngest retirees all stepped down at age 53 – with all three managers given handsome gratuity payments as well as added years to top up their public service pensions.

Derek Brady, who retired from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2005, received €63,218.50; Ann McGuinness got a €59,649.50 top-up when she left Westmeath in January 2006; while Ray O’Dwyer was paid €66,255.5 when he retired from Waterford County Council last September.

All of the figures were paid on top of the lump sums to which each manager would be entitled upon retiring from the public service, equivalent to three full years of pension payments. Until recently, the first €200,000 of each lump sum was tax-free.

Minister Phil Hogan’s figures – supplied to Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald – include a note which said new legislation would be required before county and city managers could have their pensions calculated in the same way as Secretaries-General in government departments.

Legislation to end the current system – which was introduced by statutory instrument – was enacted in 1998, when Noel Dempsey was the minister for the environment.

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