Council boss gets €238k despite ethics breach

The council chief executive rapped by a political standards watchdog for contravening ethics legislation has walked away with a gross €238,364 lump sum on his retirement.

Last November, the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) was highly critical of Longford County Council’s Tim Caffrey over his failure to fully disclose his ownership in a €259,000 property his local authority was helping a charity to purchase.

The purchase of the home at The Mill, Clondra, Co Longford by the Muirosa Foundation did not proceed, however.

In its ruling, Sipo found Mr Caffrey had ‘not acted in good faith’ had been ‘negligent to a high degree’ and that it was a serious matter.

Mr Caffrey had declared ownership of the house in the council’s annual declaration of interests but Sipo found he breached ethics legislation when failing to notify, in writing, his interest in the property to the then chairman of Longford County Council, Larry Bannon.

In response to the report, a statement issued on Mr Caffrey’s behalf said he utterly rejected the conclusion he did not act in good faith and that Sipo was not entitled to make such a conclusion.

The statement said Mr Caffrey was very disappointed with the findings of the report and he had always acted in good faith in a 45-year career in public office.

The Department of the Environment confirmed yesterday that following Mr Caffrey’s retirement last month, Mr Caffrey was entitled to receive a gross pension lump sum of €238,364 which includes a special severance gratuity of €49,883.

He will receive a gross annual pension of €62,827.

Chief executive of Isme, Mark Fielding said: “The eye-watering quarter of a million and some loose change being ‘awarded’ to public sector employees at retirement shows again the absolute weakness in a system that allows politicians to ‘flash the cash’ — our cash — to public servants.”

Council chairman Cllr Gerry Warnock (SocDem) said Mr Caffrey’s lapse in not fully disclosing his interest in the house “was an administrative error”.“


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