Crumlin hospital board to discuss top-ups

Councillor told he was ‘not wanted’ after criticising Holles Street payments

The board of Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin in Dublin is to discuss top-up payments to senior executives at its monthly meeting next Wednesday.

The topic will also be raised at upcoming board meetings in the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street and the Rotunda Hospital Dublin.

Our Lady’s Hospital was named as one of 13 agencies collectively paying about €900,000 to senior managers in top-up payments and benefits from non-State sources.

The hospital’s chief executive Lorcan Birthistle received total remuneration of more than €140,000 of which €30,000 was from a “privately funded allowance”.


Master of the Rotunda Hospital Dr Sam Coulter Smith received more than €300,000 including €20,000 from a privately funded allowance.

The Master of Holles Street, Dr Rhona Mahony, received more than €280,000 including a privately funded allowance of €45,000.

Dublin city councillor and member of the Crumlin board Michael O’Sullivan (Lab) said the top-ups would be discussed at next Wednesday’s board meeting.

Pay scales
Alluding to the chief executive's €110,000 basic wage, he said there were people in the HSE with far less responsibilities than running the largest children's hospital in the country, who were on pay scales close to €100,000. While he did not wish to comment specifically on anyone's wage, he believed it was proper that salaries are paid with no top-ups.

“But a hospital board that is faced with a situation that their funder is not giving them in their view enough money to fund a position are faced with a choice of what to do,” he said.

Councillor Pat Crimmins (FG), a member of the Holles Street board, said he was contacted by the hospital shortly after he made comments on RTÉ radio on Wednesday and was told he “was not wanted” anymore on the board.

“Holles Street has asked me to resign and I have referred them to Dublin City Council who are responsible for my appointment,” he said. When he spoke on the radio he was not speaking specifically about Holles Street, he said, and was not disrespectful, but he did think the top-ups should be refunded. When he heard about Crumlin hospital he thought it was “an isolated case”.

“I was ever so much more shocked when the other hospitals were mentioned,” he said.

Councillor Pádraig McLoughlin (Lab), on the board of the Rotunda, said he would be asking for more information on the top-ups at its next meeting. He said top-ups had not come up at board level since he took up his appointment just over a year ago. The cap on salary was a good idea, he said, and the HSE had questions to answer about why it was not enforcing its own guidelines.

He pointed out that advisors to the Government had breached the pay cap. “You can’t expect a hospital administrator to stick to the pay cap if an adviser doesn’t stick to the pay cap.”

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist