Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Crime watchdog defers retirement

Paul Appleby has deferred his retirement, just hours after announcing his plans to stand down

The country's top white-collar crime watchdog has been forced to make a dramatic U-turn about retiring under intense pressure from the Cabinet.

Paul Appleby has deferred his retirement for up to six months to give the Government time to find a replacement.

The director of corporate enforcement had insisted that his early retirement would not disrupt investigations into rogue operations at the former Anglo Irish Bank.

But Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin suggested the only way to ensure the corruption probe continues seamlessly was for him to stay in his post.

"We have engaged with Mr Appleby and I am glad that we've a situation that there will be no disruption whatsoever in the investigative work," said Mr Howlin.

Mr Appleby joined 7,700 public servants on a government deadline imposed to cut employee numbers by encouraging staff to retire early with pensions based on pre-pay cut salaries.

The 57-year-old, who has worked in public service for almost four decades, informed Jobs Minister Richard Bruton earlier this week of his intention to leave the post by February 29.

Mr Howlin said the Cabinet just learned the news on Tuesday and that the director should have given more notice of his intention to leave.

He could not confirm whether Mr Appleby would still be eligible for a pension based on his pre-pay cut salary, since he will no longer retire before the February 29 deadline. He said the Government was working on the issue.

"Mr Appleby is engaging on the basis that he wants to ensure that the huge value of work continues seamlessly and that we will come to an accommodation that is legally watertight to ensure everyone's concerns are met," Mr Howlin went on.

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