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Holles Street Master breaks silence on top-ups, says she was personally vilified

The master of the National Maternity Hospital today clarified the details of her pay, saying that she never received additional payments from any source.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 11.10pm

THE MASTER OF the National Maternity Hospital Rhona Mahony has issued a statement aimed at clarifying her pay.

Rhona Mahony has been the subject of intense scrutiny after newspapers earlier this week claimed she had received a €45,000 top-up to her €236,000 salary.

Mahony hit back at those suggestions, saying she owed it to her family, her employers, patients and those who contribute to the hospital to clear up the matter.

She says that the €45,000 were professional fees.

“My remuneration as Master is strictly in line with the contract I have with the National Maternity Hospital and is exactly in compliance with public service pay requirements for my position.

As a consultant obstetrician my contract allows me to provide clinical care to private patients, as is the case with all consultants in the Irish health service who have the same consultant contract as myself.

She says that the €45,000 she received were professional fees and that private care is essential to the health system.

“The existence of this income has been reported to the HSE in May 2012 as part of a routine confidential internal audit carried out by the HSE.

To be absolutely clear, I have never received any additional remuneration from the health service or any other source, including fundraising and charitable donations.

Mahony, who has been Master of the hospital since the start of 2012, says that the reaction to the story is “unwarranted”.

I have been personally vilified over the last few days. This has been utterly unwarranted.

Though Mahony’s statement came in a personal capacity, the National Maternity Hospital says that it is fully compliant with the public sector pay cap.

The hospital’s board also defended Mahony in a statement.

“No payments are made to NMH personnel from any funds raised or received as donations to the NMH or the NMH Foundation. The Board confirms that all funds so raised go directly to purchase necessary medical equipment, not provided for by allocated state funding, in order to maintain safe standards for the 9,000 babies born annually at NMH.

“The Board of the NMH acknowledges the need for Dr. Mahony to issue a personal statement today in view of the unfounded and unwarranted personal attacks in the media in recent days. The Board fully endorses her statement.”

Originally published 2.11pm

Read: “Don’t punish sick kids” – charity warns hospitals still need help, despite top-up furore

Read: “Because I’m worth it’ culture is still alive and well’: HSE to be grilled over top-up payments

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