The top 100 best-paid in education
At a time of unprecedented budget cuts and the possible return of third-level fees, SEAN FLYNNand PETER MCGUIREreveal the salaries of the highest earners in Irish education
OVER 75 per cent of the €8.59 billion education budget is absorbed by pay and pensions. This means that all other education services must be funded from the €2.14 billion non-pay element of the budget. Overall, Ireland has one of the lowest levels of education spending in the OECD. It is ranked close to the bottom of international league tables when it comes to spending in relation to GDP.
The consequences of this under-investment are evident throughout the sector. It can be seen in dilapidated classrooms, lack of adequate support for information technology, meagre investment in early childhood education, lack of basic school facilities, and so on.
But a striking feature of the Irish education service is the relatively high rates of pay for academics and bureaucrats – especially at senior levels.
Today’s survey of the high earners in education comes amid increasing calls for a €100,000 cap on public service salaries. Many of those featured on this page point out they have already taken pay cuts and absorbed the public service pension levy. The universities say they need to pay the best to attract the best. But the top earners also include senior figures from the huge number of education quangos.
In all, more than 60 staff in the education sector earn more than €150,000, according to The Irish Times survey. A further 476 staff earn more than €110,000. In all, 497 people are on the professorial salary scale, €113,573–€145,952.
The education sector has 95,554 full-time staff – about 27 per cent of total public sector employment. Of these, 59,000 are teachers, 10,400 are special-needs assistants and 20,000 work in third-level colleges. The cost of teacher salaries is €2.1 billion at primary and €1.9 billion at second level. The cost of pay in the university/IT sector is €1.3 billion.
A further €62 million is spent on pensions to 22,700 education staff in primary, second-level and in ITs.
Inevitably, there are other top earners within the system whose names do not feature on today’s list – some third-level colleges and other educational bodies were more cooperative than others when it came to disclosing salary details.
The figures in this survey were compiled by Peter McGuire
1 PROF DES FITZGERALD
Vice-president for research, UCD
Fitzgerald may be Ireland’s highest-paid academic but he has actually seen his salary fall from €409,000 in the past year, as UCD came under pressure to justify his exceptional pay packet.
Headhunted from the College of Surgeons, UCD says research income has more than tripled under Fitzgerald’s watch. Critics say his salary level is inappropriate in a university facing severe budgetary cuts and one with debts of more than €12 million.
2 PROF FRANK GANNON
Director general, Science Foundation Ireland
Gannon leaves SFI at the end of the year after being headhunted by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane. He made a major impact on national science policy, including at Cabinet level. Described as a key asset by Minister for Enterprise Batt O’Keeffe, his departure is regarded as a huge loss.
A spokesperson said that Gannon’s salary level is “required in order to secure the services of a uniquely qualified individual with the necessary international scientific reputation and managerial experience, to deliver on the ambitious agenda the Government has entrusted to SFI.”
3 DR MICHAEL MURPHY
The highest-paid university president in Ireland. Last year, former education minister Batt O’Keeffe asked the seven university presidents to take a pay cut but they have not responded to this request. UCC has debts of more than €10 million. Under Murphys tenure, UCC has routinely outperformed both UCD and Trinity College in the battle to secure research funding.
A spokesman for the college said that the presidents salary is HEA-approved and reflects his previous clinical background. The president also retains a special adviser, Eamonn Sweeney, who earns €118,000 per year.
4 PROFESSOR TOM BEGLEY
Dean, School of Business, UCD
Begley’s role as dean of the UCD School of Business means he oversees the undergraduate Quinn School and the graduate Michael Smurfit School. The Smurfit MBA held its top 30 spot in the Financial Times European chart this year. The school also came in 98th in the global rankings. With more than 3,000 students and 30,000 alumni, the UCD Business School has a long reach into Irish corporate life.
5 PROFESSOR NICK QUIRKE
Principal, College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, UCD €227,659
Despite losing a special allowance last year, Quirke remains as one of the highest-paid academics in Ireland. His salary was sanctioned by the HEA under a special framework agreement, designed to help colleges attract top academics from Ireland and abroad.
Quirke fits the profile of the high-level international academic that Irish universities have been so eager to entice: he has published more than 110 papers in international journals and is editor-in-chief of the international journal, Molecular Simulation and chairman of the Journal of Experimental Nanoscience.
6 BRIGID McMANUS
Secretary General, Department of Education and Skills
Only the fourth woman to reach the position of Secretary General and the first in the Department of Education and Science. Appointed in 2005. Regularly puts in 12 hour days (or longer) in Marlborough Street.
7 DR JAMES BROWNE (Joint 7th)
Became president four years ago after losing out in controversial circumstances more than a decade ago. Regarded as a tough, no-nonsense character who does not do small talk. That said, much respected across the sector and praised for NUIG’s strong links with local industry.
7 DR HUGH BRADY (Joint 7th)
One of the most prominent and controversial figures in Irish education, Brady has brought about sweeping changes at Irelands largest university. Under fire at recent Dáil Public Accounts Committee and asked to justify €1.6 million in illegal, unauthorised bonuses to senior staff.
Credited with moving UCD swiftly up the world ranking. After languishing in 221st place, it is now in the worlds top 100 in the Times Higher ranking.
9 MARY COUGHLAN
Minister for Education
Dubbed “Calamity Coughlan’’ during a controversial term in Enterprise and Employment. Has adopted a low profile and more cautious approach in Education. As Tánaiste, under pressure to deliver substantial education cuts in forthcoming budget.
10 EAMON DREA
Vice-president for staff, UCD
A UCD graduate, he took an arts degree programme in the 1970s and went on to specialise in English and American literature. He then studied law at King’s Inns and was called to the bar in 1990. A civil servant for a decade, Drea worked at senior levels in the Department of the Environment and in the Department of Finance. Under Drea, an increasing number of lecturers at UCD are employed on short-term or hourly contracts.
THE OTHER TOP EARNERS
Provost, Trinity College Dublin €202,118
12. Professor Brian Norton President, Dublin Institute of Technology
12. Brian MacCraith
President, Dublin City University €193,843
12. Professor Don Barry President, University of Limerick €193,843
Director general, FÁS
Director general, Institute of Public Administration
Interim president, NUI Maynooth €184,150
18.Professor Frances Ruane
Director, Economic and Social Research Institute
19.Professor Paul Giller Registrar/vice-president for academic affairs, UCC
20. Professor Anne Scott Registrar, DCU €151,800 plus allowance of €14,145 –
total salary package €160,097
21.Dr Brendan Murphy
President, Cork IT
21. Professor Kieran Byrne President, Waterford IT
21. Marian Coy
President, Galway-Mayo IT
21.Dr Philip Nolan
21. Gerry OBrien
21. Professor Jim Ward
Registrar, NUI Galway
21. Dr Séamus MacMathúna Secretary, NUI Galway
21. Mary Dooley
Bursar, NUI Galway
21. Professor Patrick J Prendergast
Vice-provost /chief academic officer, TCD
21. Darina Kneafsey
Chief operating officer, TCD
31. Con O’Brien
Vice-president for the student experience, UCC
31. Professor Grace Neville
Vice-president for teaching and learning, University College Cork. €155,184
31. Professor Michael Peter Kennedy
Vice-president for research policy and support, UCC.
34. Professor Eugene Kennedy Vice-president for research, DCU €153,685
35. Aíne Gibbons
Vice-president for development, UCD
36. Professor Richard Kennedy Vice-president for learning and innovation, DCU
36. Dr Maria Hinfelaar
President, Limerick IT
36. Dr Ruaidhri Neavyn
President, IT Carlow
36. Denis Cummins
President, Dundalk IT
36. Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin
36. Dr Mary Meaney
President, IT Blanchardstown €151,800
36. Jim Devine
Director, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology €151,800
36. Paul Hannigan
President, Letterkenny IT €151,800
36. Professor Terri Scott President, Sligo IT
36. Michael Carmody
President, IT Tralee
36. Pat McLaughlin
President, IT Tallaght
36. Mike OMalley
Bursar, NUI Maynooth
36. Frank Soughley
Finance officer, DCU
36. John Field
Director of finance, UL
UL (position currently vacant) €151,800
36. Professor Paul McCutcheon Registrar, UL
36. Ian Matthews
Treasurer, Trinity College €151,800
36. Diarmuid Collins
Bursar, University College Cork €151,800
54. Padraic McNamara
Chief executive, State Examinations Commission €150,712 plus expenses of €1,318.21
54. Pat Curtin
Chief executive, National Council for Special Education.
56. Executive Faculty Deans DCU
Salary scale rising to €150,667
– Jim Dowling
Dean of Engineering and Computing
– Professor Bernard Pierce
School of Business
– Professor Eithne Guilfoyle
Humanities and Social Sciences
– Professor Malcolm Smyth
Science and Health
60. Martin Conry
61. Stan McHugh
Chief executive, FETAC
61. Padraig Walsh
Chief executive, National Qualifications Authority of Ireland salary scale of €127,796 to €146,191
63. Dr Martin Butler Vice-president for students, UCD Professorial scale rising to €146,022
63. Dr Padraic Conway Vice-president for university relations, UCD
63. College Principals, UCD salary scale rising to €146,022
–Professor Mary Daly
Arts and Celtic Studies
–Professor Brigid Laffan
–Professor Maurice Boland
68. David Redmond
Registrar, NUI Maynooth €146,001
69. Declan McGonagle
Director, National College of Art and Design.
69. Dr Noel O’Connor
Director of student services, DIT Salary scale to €145,952
69. Paul Flynn
Director of finance and resources, DIT
69. Director/deans of colleges, DIT
– Bríd Grant
College of Arts and Tourism
– Mike Murphy
College of Engineering and Built Environment
– Paul OSullivan
College of Business
– Michael Devereux
College of Science and Health
Salary scale rising to €145,952
69. Professor Rowena Pecchenino
Dean of the Faculty of Social Science, NUI Maynooth
69. Professor Colm O’Morain
Dean of Health Sciences, TCD
€145,952 (Salary scale of professor consultant paid for by Tallaght Hospital, 50 per cent of which is reimbursed by TCD. The College pays in the order of €120,000.)
79. Tom Boland
Chief executive, Higher Education Authority
80. Dr Pauric Travers
President, St Patricks College: €145,328
80. Dr Peadar Cremin
President, Mary Immaculate College
82. Professor James Walsh
Deputy president, NUI Maynooth €144,607
83. Professor Caroline Fennell Head of College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science, UCC €143,134
83. Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick Head of the College of Science, Engineering, and Food Science, UCC
85. Attracta Halpin Registrar, National University of Ireland: €138,719 plus registration officer allowance of €635
86. Professor Michael Marsh
Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, TCD Salary scale of €108,048–€138, 655
86. Professor Chris Curtin
Vice-president for innovation and performance, NUI Galway €138,655
86. Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway €138,655
86. Professor Ray ONeill
Vice-president for research NUI Maynooth
86. Professor Gerry Lyons
Dean of engineering and informatics, NUI Galway
salary scale to €138,655
86. Anne Fitzgerald
Secretary, Trinity College. Salary scale of €108,048–€138,655
94. Gearóid Ó Conluain
Chief executive officer, Higher Education and Training Awards Council
€132,687 plus expenses of €7,009
95. Professor William Golden Dean of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway
96. Anne Looney
Chief executive, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment €119,636
97. Éamonn Sweeney
Advisor to the president of UCC €118,000
98. Gerry Whyte
Dean of students at TCD
salary scale of €113,604–€145,952
98. Dr David Lloyd
Dean of research at TCD salary scale of €113,604–€145,952
100. Professor BG Loftus
Dean of medicine, NUI Galway €112,610
– Assistant Director Generals FÁS: €134,523-€153,885 Average salary: €149,469
– Asst Secretary Generals
Department of Education and Skills: at upper end of pay scale, based on incremental service, can earn up to €146,191
– Professorial salary scale UCD, UCC, TCD, NUIM, NUIG, DCU, and UL (appointed after 1995) €113,573–€145,952
– Professorial salary scale UCD, UCC, TCD, NUIM, NUIG, DCU, and UL (appointed before 1995) €107,964–€138,719
– Chief executives of larger VEC areas: upper pay scale of €129,854
– Registrars, secretaries, heads of development, and financial controllers Cork IT, Galway-Mayo IT, Waterford IT, Limerick IT, Athlone IT, Dundalk IT, Sligo IT.
Top salary of €114,997
- Associate Professors: salary scale of €82,970–€110,058
*At NUI Maynooth, Dr Thomas OConnor and Dr Bernard Mahon (both at number 92) are not on professorial scale and are paid their academic salary plus an allowance, bringing them to point three on the professorial salary scale which is €89,454.
– For historical reasons, the salary of the Secretary at UCD, John Coman, is not paid at HEA rates (€156,249). The correct figure was not available.