University defends €230,000 salary for post


THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick (UL) has pointed to Government pay scales for medical consultants as the reason the head of its graduate entry medical school (GEMS) is one of the best paid academics in the State.

UL has recently advertised for a new head of the GEMS to replace outgoing Prof Paul Finucane, who steps down from the role next year.

According to the advert for the post, the successful applicant is to earn €231,653-€241,539 per annum, less 10 per cent if the applicant is a new entrant to the public sector.

The salary is about €40,000 more than the salary of €193,843 which the president of UL, Prof Don Barry, will receive this year.

“This salary scale is set by Government. The head of the GEMS is at medical consultant level and the salary scales for medical consultants are set by Government,” a spokeswoman for UL said yesterday.

“The salary costs associated with the head of the school are provided for in the grant for GEMS that is received from the Higher Education Authority.”

The head of the GEMS is currently one of five employees at UL earning between €200,000 and €250,000 per annum.

In the Dáil last week, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn confirmed that of the 99 employees in the higher education sector receiving in excess of €200,000 per annum, 89 are academic medical consultants.

The GEMS was established in 2007 and is the first medical school to be founded since the founding of the State and the first graduate entry medical school in Ireland.

The first 32 students graduated from the school this year and there are 366 students across the four years of the programme. The school aims to increase its student numbers to 480 by 2014-15.

Some 70 per cent of the students enrolled are currently Irish/EU students and 30 per cent international.

Irish/EU students pay annual fees of €13,915, while the HEA contributes an additional €11,000 to UL for each student. Non-EU students pay €38,500 per annum.