Belfast Telegraph

Translink boss takes flight to new post in England... now her £200k job is up for grabs

By CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

The highest paid public sector job in Northern Ireland will become vacant in the new year.

Translink chief executive Catherine Mason is to leave the post where she received an annual salary of £198,000 in March to take up a new job with National Air Traffic Services in England.

Ms Mason said she was making the move with "mixed emotions".

She said: "Firstly genuine sadness, I have enjoyed my time in Translink and Northern Ireland, but I also feel huge pride in the success Translink has had, during very difficult economic times."

Ms Mason joined Translink in 2008 and during her time in the role she has been subject to criticism.

Translink is the umbrella brand name of the integrated public transport system of Metro, NI Railways and Ulsterbus.

Its principal objective was to promote the travelling public's move from car to public transport and the co-ordination of bus and rail services.

Ms Mason was previously managing director of international transport group Arriva Midlands and commercial director of CrossCountry trains.

Her pay package was scrutinised by MLAs as it emerged that senior officials at Translink were entitled to car allowances worth £9,000 on top of their six-figure salaries.

The allowances were offered to the company's eight-strong management team where three of them were provided with company cars instead of an allowance – as well as officials and their families travelling free on buses and trains.

The details were revealed on the same day that Ms Mason refused to rule out a fresh hike in fares as she appeared before Stormont's regional development committee.

Speaking at the time, committee chairman DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt called the allowances "outdated and unacceptable". He said: "I don't think it adds up that people on these salaries have a £9,000 car allowance."

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