Council boss retires with €250k lump sum

 Hubert Kearns: Pension will total €1.7m by age 85.

The environment minister has confirmed that the local government official who presided over Sligo County Council’s Lissadell court saga has walked off with a pension lump sum payment of over €250,000.

Hubert Kearns had served as county manager of Sligo County Council since 1996 before retiring earlier this month at the age of 57.

Mr Kearns is one of two county managers to have received golden lump sum payments in recent weeks.

David O’Connor, the county manager of Fingal County Council in Dublin, received nearly €300,000 after his retirement from the post last week.

In a written response to independent TD Clare Daly, Environment Minister Phil Hogan confirmed that Mr Kearns received a total of €251,309 in lump sum payments and is to receive an annual pension of €62,827.

By the time Mr Kearns reaches the age of 85, he will have received €1.7m in annual pension payments.

Prior to retiring, Mr Kearns enjoyed a salary of €123,910.

Arising from the aftermath of a lengthy High Court case concerning rights of way at Lissadell, the taxpayer has been saddled with a legal bill estimated to be around €7m.

The owners of Lissadell, Constance Cassidy SC and Edward Walsh SC, took proceedings against Sligo County Council after its development plan asserted public rights of way over four walking routes at Lissadell.

Mr Hogan confirmed that newly appointed city and county managers will not be able to avail of the generous pension terms that have been available up until now.

Mr Hogan said: “Newly appointed city and county managers, unless they have already reached pension age, no longer benefit from immediate payment of pension and lump sum before they reach their preserved pension age; nor do they benefit from notional added years for pension purposes.”

Figures from the Department of the Environment show that Mr O’Connor, the retired manager of Fingal County Council, is to receive a lump sum payment of €296,082.

He had one of the top local government jobs in the country, receiving an annual salary of €150,977 — second only to the €175,721 received by the manager of Dublin City Council.

Mr O’Connor was appointed to the post in 2006 and will receive annual pension payments of €73,394.


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