Central Bank spends €40,000 helping relocate senior executives

THE Central Bank has spent close to €40,000 on relocation expenses for senior executives including estate agency fees, flights, temporary accommodation, and assistance with setting up bank accounts and social security numbers.

THE Central Bank has spent close to €40,000 on relocation expenses for senior executives including estate agency fees, flights, temporary accommodation, and assistance with setting up bank accounts and social security numbers.

Relocation expenses are not normally paid in the public service with standard rules in place from the Department of Public Expenditure allowing for payment only to officials already working in the public service who are forced to move.

However, the Central Bank said they were also payable in “exceptional circumstances” for external appointments and that all money was paid in line with Revenue guidelines.

The fees relate to four appointments over the past two years including that of the new governor of the bank Gabriel Makhlouf.

As part of his move to Ireland, €5,446 was paid to a firm called Irish Relocation Services for “settling in supports”.

The Central Bank said: “This candidate relocated from the UK, London to commence a role with the Central Bank of Ireland.

“The amounts listed were paid to our relocation providers to provide settling in supports – assistance with PPSN, bank account opening, accommodation search and shipment of personal belongings.” Another €3,486 was paid directly to Governor Makhlouf related to a temporary rented accommodation bill from when he first moved to Ireland.

In 2019, another senior executive – whose name has been redacted from FOI documents – was given a €14,000 payment for relocation costs.

The Central Bank said this related to a “portion of the estate agency fees which [were] paid in selling his UK property to relocate to Ireland”.

Last year, they also paid out just over €5,100 to Irish Relocation Services Ltd for helping another unnamed executive relocate from the UK.

They said: “The amounts refunded relate to an amount paid directly to our relocation partners to provide settling in services and assistance with locating a suitable property to live in in Dublin.” Another €8,044 was refunded directly to the executive which included costs related to “flights, temporary accommodation costs, and shipment of belongings”.

The previous year, a small bill of around €3,000 was incurred in relation to a move for another executive, also from the UK.

The money was paid to Team Relocations GmbH to help find a property, move some belongings to Dublin, and getting a PPS number and bank account organised.

A copy of Central Bank guidelines on relocation said that a range of items can be reimbursed.

This included auctioneer and legal fees for house sales, storage charges, cleaning stored furniture, insurance of furniture and effects in transit, and temporary subsistence.

Services available from their relocation providers included booking of serviced accommodation, house searches, utility connections, and help with school options.

In a statement, a Central Bank spokesman said that relocation expenses were only paid in two scenarios involving international secondment and external hires.

He said: “Relocation support is available to Central Bank employees who take up an international secondment (approved by the Central Bank) through the Central Bank’s relocation services provider.

“Our relocation provider is appointed via tender and public procurement process, and operate to a defined set of parameters for each secondment which is location dependent.” He said moving expenses were also payable to external hires who relocate here to take up a senior or specialist appointment following an open competition.

“Financial assistance is available and capped at 10% of annual salary. Expenses must be vouched and expense types must be in line with Revenue guidelines,” he said.

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