Head of State’s biggest landlord receives 42% pay rise to earn €1.04m

Margaret Sweeney’s annual bonus increased by €112,000 to €442,000 last year

The head of the State’s biggest private landlord received a 42 per cent boost in her pay package last year, bringing her total remuneration to just under €1.04 million.

Margaret Sweeney, the chief executive of Ires Reit, saw her basic salary rise €70,000 to €400,000 and her annual bonus increase €112,000 to €442,000 in 2019. Her pension also rose from €50,000 to €60,000 and she took a deferred bonus payment of €110,000.

Ms Sweeney also receives an annual taxable cash allowance towards a car, health cover and risk benefits, which was last year increased from €20,000 to €25,000.

The increase in Ms Sweeney’s remuneration package coincided with 22.6 per cent growth in the company’s net rental income to €50.5 million for its portfolio of 3,666 units across developments in Dublin and one property in Cork. At the end of 2019, the company’s portfolio was valued at €1.36 billion.


Ms Sweeney’s salary was increased last year after the company’s remuneration committee took into account a comparison with pay levels in Irish and UK peer companies, “as well as the performance of the company since Margaret Sweeney’s appointment in 2017 and significant increase in its scale over this time”.

Ms Sweeney’s annual bonus level was increased from 100 per cent to 150 per cent of salary last year.

On March 27th, Ms Sweeney received a conditional award of 437,601 ordinary shares in the company. To receive the shares, Ms Sweeney must continue to be employed by the company up to the vesting date in 2023 and meet certain performance conditions.

A former chief executive of airport operator DAA and Postbank Ireland, she was granted €2 million in share options in Ires Reit when she took over from David Ehrlich in November 2017.

Strong liquidity

The details of her pay were released in the company's annual report on Monday, which also shows that chairman Declan Moylan received a 30 per cent boost in his remuneration to €134,000.

In the report, Mr Moylan updated shareholders on the company’s Covid-19 preparedness, noting that the group’s financial position and liquidity were “strong”

“Recent economic forecasts suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic may have significant implications for global and Ireland’s economic growth forecasts for the remainder of 2020. However, the multi-family real estate sector is considered to be a highly defensive and counter-cyclical asset class that can bear broader market swings, even in comparison to other property sectors,” he said.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business