Chairman of ethics board paid almost €50,000

THE chairman of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) was paid almost €50,000 to lead the six-person ethics board last year.

Mr Justice Michael P Smith is in his second term as SIPO chairman and was entitled to a daily rate of €494.05, subject to a maximum of 100 days’ pay.

This was lower than the daily rate of €526 he was allowed to take home in 2009.

Mr Justice Smith is also a member of the Public Appointments Service and a former chairman of the Electronic Voting Commission.

He is one of two members of the SIPO who can claim fees.

The other is former defence minister Michael Smith, who was a Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary North until 2007 and won a Dáil seat on seven occasions between 1969 and 2002.

In 2010, Mr Smith was paid €16,625. This was lower than the 2009 figure of €17,500.

In a statement, the Standards in Public Office Commission said its remaining members — Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly, Clerk of the Dáil Kieran Coughlan, Clerk of the Seanad Deirdre Lane and Comptroller and Auditor General John Buckley — did not receive any fees or expenses.

“None of the four ex-officio members receive any fees or expenses for their work on other commissions to which they are appointed,” the SIPO statement noted.

The Commission was one of hundreds of publicly supported bodies examined in an investigation in yesterday’s Irish Examiner.

This included information relating to 3,364 appointments to 367 agencies.

Every possible effort was made to verify the currency and accuracy of this census of directors.

However, in some cases, information supplied by the departments was out of date and did not reflect changes to the board or current fee entitlements.

* The chairman of the Mental Health Commission is entitled to fees of €11,970. However, the members of the Commission are not paid a fee for their contribution. Emile Daly has also been replaced on the board by Patricia O’Sullivan Lacy.

* The law allows for members of Inland Fisheries Ireland to be paid €7,695, and its chairman €11,970. However, for the next two years, the members will not accept the fee.

* Dr John Feely (deceased), Darragh O’Loughlin, Phil O’Neill, Richard Durkin and Ronan Quirke are no longer members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

* The fees payable to some bodies have been reduced by 5%. This includes the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. The six members who received fees were paid €11,970 in 2010 and the chairman, Dorothea Dowling, claimed a fee of €20,520.


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