Coillte ruling raises question for Collier

Gunning case involved company’s withholding of bonus payment

Former DAA boss Declan  Collier did not take a bonus of €106,100 due in respect of 2010. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Former DAA boss Declan Collier did not take a bonus of €106,100 due in respect of 2010. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Former Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) boss Declan Collier (pictured) must have been watching events in the Dublin High Court this week with more than a little interest.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns ruled yesterday that former Coillte boss David Gunning was entitled to performance-related bonus payments totalling €299,000 that the company had withheld.

The judge threw out Coillte’s argument that Mr Gunning was not entitled to the payments because of an April 8th, 2013, directive to the company from the Minister for Agriculture under the Forestry Act.

Mr Collier, who left the DAA in November 2011 to run London City Airport, did not take a bonus of €106,100 due in respect of 2010 after a brief stand-off between the DAA and the then minister for transport Leo Varadkar.

Yesterday’s ruling raises the interesting question as to whether Mr Collier – if he was so minded – could look to now have his bonus paid. The same holds for any other semi-State executive who did not get a bonus because of political pressure. They might first want to wait to see how Mr Gunning’s victory plays in the court of public opinion before going to court.

But it is worth noting at this stage that a central plank of Mr Gunning’s case was the fact that he never agreed to waive his bonuses in 2011 and 2012 and agreed only to waive part of his bonus payments due in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Mr Collier, however, is reported to have agreed to waive his 2010 bonus, as is probably the case with most of his peers. A wave of similar actions thus looks unlikely.

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