How much are health chiefs paid? They’re not saying

National Association of GPs and INMO have declined to reveal bosses’ salaries

The INMO’s accounts show the cost of pay and pensions amounted to €5.3 million, of which €4.2 million was accounted for by salaries.

The National Association of GPs (NAGP) has become the latest health organisation to decline to state publicly what it pays its chief executive.

The association says the salary of chief executive Chris Goodey will be disclosed to members in its annual report to be presented at an annual general meeting this month.

Adopting a line similar to that taken by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the association says it doesn't see "the necessity to have the personal detail of employees publicised in the media".

A spokesman stressed the NAGP believed in “absolute transparency” and full disclosure to its 1,400 members, and pointed out that all national council members act on a voluntary basis.


The controversy at the end of last year over high executive pay at the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), where chief executive Pat Smith left before it was revealed he was earning up to €500,000 a year, has sparked renewed interest in the salaries paid to the heads of representative bodies in the health sector.

It's hardly a new subject, given the row within the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) over the pay and pension arrangements of former chief executive George McNeice in 2013. McNeice was earning at least as much as Pat Smith in the IFA, but his pension provisions left any arrangements enjoyed by the farmers' leader in the ha'penny place.

Settlement deal

The pension entitlements of the former IMO boss could have topped €25 million had he stayed on, and were worth €9.7 million under a settlement deal negotiated on his departure.

In the wake of the IFA controversy, the focus within health has been on longtime INMO leader Liam Doran, who declined to provide details of his pay and pensions in a number of recent media interviews.

Doran has said the salary of any member of the INMO is solely a matter for that person and the organisation.

The INMO didn’t engage in public comment about salaries in the union and the issue was fully addressed in its annual report, he told reporters during a press conference on the then planned but averted nurses’ industrial action last month. The matter was also considered in private session at the annual conference each year, he said.

The INMO annual report indicates that Doran’s salary is linked to that of the director of human resources in the HSE.

The current holder of that position, Rosarii Mannion, earns €147,549 but previous incumbents earned €196,467 in 2010 and 2011, before public service salaries were cut.

Contacted about the issue, the INMO said it had no further comment to make, other than to say its accounts are audited by Deloitte and approved at annual conference every year.

Best practice in corporate governance suggests an organisation should publish the levels of top executive pay in an annual report, but trade unions are not classic corporate bodies. They do file annual statements and financial accounts, but to the Registrar of Friendly Bodies rather than the Companies Office. The two State bodies are housed at the one address in Dublin, but accounts held by the Registrar are not available online.

Defined benefit pension

The INMO’s accounts show the cost of pay and pensions amounted to €5.3 million, of which €4.2 million was accounted for by salaries. The union has 58 full-time employees and 10 part-timers, giving an average pay per employee of €61,554.

Staff enjoy the now-rare defined benefit form of pension scheme – rather than the inferior defined contribution option – and the union paid about € 1 million into the scheme last year. However, the scheme lurched into a €4.8 million deficit last year, compared with a €2 million gain the previous year.

The accounts show staff costs of €5.3 million and “other administrative expenses” of €3 million.

Travel and officer expenses amounted to €253,000.

The union wrote off €1.7 million on its headquarters, the Whitworth Building, which it acquired in 2002. This followed a €3 million impairment on the building in 2013. It has also acquired the historic and adjoining Richmond Hospital building, which is to be used as an education and training centre.

The accounts show the union lost almost 300 members last year, with total membership now standing at just under 38,000. This is likely to grow again as more nurses are recruited to work within the HSE.

As for the IMO, it remains so traumatised following the McNeice affair that it has yet to appoint a successor. A spokesman said the appointment of a chief executive was under review by the executive board and council.

Under new rules, the IMO is committed to publishing the salary of any chief executive and the stipends payable to elected “honorary” officers, he said. As part of these reforms, the president’s stipend was cut from €100,000 to €35,000.

The union’s annual report, published on its website, provides details of stipend payments but provides no detail on the salaries paid to senior staff.