Other Questions - Departmental Bodies

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 751 No. 2

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  10.  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett  Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   if he will clarify if a board member of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (details supplied) has returned wrongly claimed travel and subsistence expenses as reported in the national media; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1633/12]

  34.  Deputy Joe Higgins  Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   if he will clarify whether a board member (details supplied) of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company [613]has returned wrongly claimed travel and subsistence expenses as reported in the national media; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1634/12]

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 34 together.

The question relates to the issue of expenses by a board member of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company. I previously responded to Deputy Boyd Barrett’s questions on this matter on 29 September and 14 December last. Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company confirms each year that it complies with the relevant travel and subsistence regulations. As I said previously, I understand that the matter of repayment of flight expenses has been resolved and that they will be repaid by mid-2012.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  In his reply the Minister used the future tense which means the expenses have not been repaid. Will the Minister clarify this? When I brought this issue to the attention of the Minister in September, the report was that Mr. Nagle had committed to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We do not mention names.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I apologise. The director in question had committed to pay back the money, which we should remind ourselves were claims made for expenses for travelling from Dubai to board meetings for Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company. In that year he claimed €10,250 as against, for example, the CEO who claimed only €3,000 and a small amount claimed by another board director. In September it was stated he would pay it back but now the Minister is stating it will be close to a year before he does so. I find this extraordinary. While I am at it——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are over time. I will ask the Minister to reply and then call Deputy Boyd Barrett again.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  I do not have day-to-day involvement in the running of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company. It is a semi-State body governed by its board and managed by its CEO. However, I am advised in writing by the chairman that the director in question has made a written commitment and that he will repay the cost of the flights and that such payment will be made in full by mid-2012.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  The reason this is important is because these same directors and the chairman the Minister mentioned are trying to impose pay cuts of between 20% and 30% on workers earning a fraction of what they do. They have also forcibly made redundant five harbour police, with whom they are also involved in a dispute because they made a mistake and overpaid them and are now seeking the money back. There is much anger and grievance because the same people making these decisions are overclaiming for expenses and not paying them back.

Will the Minister confirm what precisely is the salary of the CEO of the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company? According to my figures, in 2010 he was paid €168,000 per year in total. There was one recent monthly payment detailing how he received €14,000 per month, which would add up to €168,000. Will the Minister confirm if, in addition, he gets pension contributions amounting to €42,000 and PRSI contributions amounting to €18,000 per year paid? That would put the total cost of the CEO at €228,000 per year. That is pretty awful when workers are being forced from their jobs in the harbour and others are being asked for pay cuts of between 20% and 30%.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  The fees paid to the chairman and members of the board are modest and much less than what the staff are paid.

[614]Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am talking about the CEO.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  I do not know his remuneration package off the top of my head but I can provide those details to the Deputy by correspondence. I imagine the figures are much lower in 2012 than they were in 2010, in line with reductions in CEO pay and remuneration. I am very sad that workers have lost their jobs at Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company but this has come about because of a loss of business. People cannot be kept employed in a job that is not there to be done any more.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  They guys giving them the axe are being paid €168,000 per year.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  There is a dispute which is being dealt with by the Labour Relations Commission.

Question No. 11 answered with Question No. 7.


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