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Former BBC Northern Ireland boss got £866,000 severance

The BBC awarded an £866,000 pay-off to its former Northern Ireland boss – who then walked straight into another lucrative public sector job, it has emerged.

Pat Loughrey's package is reported to have included £300,000 pay in lieu of 12 months' notice, even though he had already worked his notice and been paid for it. He secured a £200,000 post at Goldsmith's, University of London, before he left the BBC.

Originally from Donegal, Mr Loughrey was a freelance broadcaster for UTV, BBC and RTE before joining the BBC as an education producer in 1984. He became controller of BBC Northern Ireland 10 years later.

Details of his package emerged amid criticism over severance payments to senior bosses in recent years. The matter will be discussed at Westminster's Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday.

Mr Loughrey's identity was kept secret in the National Audit Office report, which referred to him as Case Study 1, but was reported by the Sunday Times.

Mr Loughrey also received a £266,288 boost to his pension fund. When he took early retirement as director of nations and regions at the end of 2009, the BBC knew he had lined up a new job.

In a carefully worded statement, he said: "As you will be aware from (the) National Audit Office report, certain staff names were anonymised by the BBC to comply with data protection law.

"You will also know from the report that there are clauses in their employment contracts which prohibit those individuals from disclosing details about their severance payments.

"I would, however, like to make clear that any severance payments I received... were made in fulfilment of long-standing contractual entitlements and approved at the highest level."

Belfast Telegraph