Three University of Limerick staff were in receipt of president's salary


THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick paid a president’s salary to three people at the same time in 2007 and 2008, according to a report by the State’s spending watchdog.

University College Dublin overpaid senior personnel, paid unapproved allowances to almost 400 staff and topped up the pensions of most retiring staff, the report by Comptroller and Auditor General John Buckley also established.

The report highlights the widespread payment by the colleges of allowances and bonuses without approval. The universities are taking steps to end the payment of allowances but in most cases no action is being taken to recoup the overpayments.

The report does not name the three University of Limerick staff who were paid a president’s salary at the same time.

The president, Prof Roger Downer, stepped down because of ill-health in April 2006. He remained on as president emeritus at the president’s rate until his retirement in August 2008. Mr Downer was succeeded by John O’Connor as acting president, paid at a president’s rate. He ceased to be in this role from May 2007, when Prof Don Barry was appointed as president.

Mr O’Connor remained on as a president emeritus, at a president’s rate, and was given responsibility for capital works on campus. He retired in April 2009 on a pension based on the president’s rate.

According to the report, the remuneration paid to UCD president Dr Hugh Brady in 2007 exceeded officially sanctioned levels by almost €50,000. His total earnings of over €273,000 compared to the €227,000 approved by the Minister for Education on foot of recommendations by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector.

Meanwhile, the registrar’s remuneration package exceeded sanctioned rates by €21,300 in 2007 and the bursar’s by €47,100. The additional payments were withdrawn in 2009, the university said.

The report also details five-figure sums paid as allowances to more than 80 other staff in UCD. The largest amount, €120,000, was paid in 2007 to the director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory.

Five vice-presidents, four college principals, 13 college vice principals, 41 heads of schools and 18 directors of institutes received allowances of €15,000 to €25,000.

The report says more than 300 other staff were in receipt of allowances as of last September; two-thirds of these received amounts averaging €9,500 a year.

The report also found that UCD paid €266,000 in performance-related bonuses to 12 staff between 2005 and 2008.

NUIG’s president, registrar and bursar received almost €400,000 in unauthorised allowances in the seven years up to 2007.

Former president Dr Iggy Ó Muircheartaigh has agreed to pay back his allowances of more than €200,000.