Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Civil service golden goodbyes axed

Brendan Howlin, minister for public expenditure and reform, has announced changes to top civil servants' pension benefits

Pension benefits for future top civil servants are being radically reformed to prevent high ranking officials walking away with controversial golden goodbyes.

Secretaries general, the most senior government staff, will be barred from early retirement or generous severance payments on top of a 200,000 euro wage cap.

Brendan Howlin, minister for public sector expenditure and reform, said the salary and benefit limits will be in place for 12 months before being reassessed.

"A balance has to be struck to ensure that the right people capable of taking on the complex challenges our country faces now, and in the future are in place," Mr Howlin said.

"Accordingly, we will review the new terms after 12 months to see that they are effective in attracting the desired candidates."

The reforms to the Top Level Appointment Committee terms take effect instantly on all newly appointed secretaries general.

Under existing arrangements these high-ranking officials can retire early with an immediate pension, added years top-up payments and severance money.

The most high-profile civil servant to benefit from the controversial pay-outs was Dermot McCarthy, former secretary general to the Government, who retired at 57 earlier this year.

His golden goodbye lump sum was 570,000 euro and followed up with 142,000 euro a year in pension payments.

Mr McCarthy was a key player in talks and management for social partnership, benchmarking and the Croke Park agreement.

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