Pay deal of IMO ex-chief George McNeice was ‘not a secret’

Doctors’ union in turmoil since €9.7 million retirement package emerged

Former chief executive of the Irish Medical Organisation George McNeice believes that details of his controversial remuneration package were was "not a secret" within the organisation

Former chief executive of the Irish Medical Organisation George McNeice believes that details of his controversial remuneration package were was "not a secret" within the organisation

Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 06:00


The former chief executive of the Irish Medical Organisation, George McNeice, believes details of his controversial remuneration package were “not a secret” within the organisation.

A spokesman for Mr McNeice last night said he believed his earnings were known to people within the doctors’ trade union “who should have known”.

The spokesman said this included some members of the IMO’s executive and remuneration committees who were responsible for managing him as an employee.

The spokesman also said Mr McNeice was not saying every member of these groups was aware of his remuneration but that “it was not a secret”.

Mr McNeice’s spokesman said that, in 2008, he wrote to the IMO’s remuneration committee offering to freeze his pay and to end the payment of bonuses. He has declined to release the letter or say whether it contained specific references to his remuneration details.

The IMO has been in turmoil since it emerged just before Christmas that Mr McNeice had left the organisation with an overall retirement package of €9.7 million.

The spokesman’s comments came as the IMO’s annual conference is about to get under way today.

Members of the organisation have been told that a contract the union entered into with Mr McNeice in 2003 left it with a potential liability of up to €25 million but that this had been reduced following negotiations.

A special meeting of members in Mullingar in January heard that the contract was agreed with Mr McNeice by a former president and the then chairman of the remuneration committee, Dr Cormac Macnamara, who has since died.

It heard that, in a letter to the organisation at the end of the contract talks, Dr Macnamara stated that the other members of the remuneration committee were aware of the terms and conditions in the agreement.


Contract knowledge
A spokesman for the IMO said after the meeting there was a dispute as to their knowledge of the contract and of the level of involvement they had with the committee.

The IMO has said Minister for Health James Reilly was on its remuneration committee at the time the contract was drawn up in 2003.

The organisation’s leadership said under the terms of the contract, Mr McNeice had a base salary of €250,000. However two bonus arrangements saw this increase steadily to €493,000 by 2008 when a pay freeze was put in place.

In addition, Mr McNeice also received a salary of €60,000 from the organisation’s financial services arm, IMOFS.


Upcoming review
A review to be commissioned by the IMO will examine all matters connected with the employment contract, payments and pension entitlements for Mr McNeice in respect of any role held by him within the IMO and any of its associated companies.

This review is also to look at financial and governance arrangements in the IMO between 1993 and 2012, dealing in particular with the awarding of contracts, third-party consultancy payments and third-party salaries, expenses and stipends.

The spokesman for Mr McNeice said the IMO had all the records relating to his tenure as chief executive but if it needed clarification he would assist.