THE two Green Party ministers did not know of former Fás director general Rody Molloy’s massive redundancy package, party leader John Gormley said yesterday.
Questioned about theestimated €1 million “golden handshake”, Mr Molloy received following his forced resignation last November, the Environment Minister said such matters are not raised at cabinet and were not, on this occasion, brought before the cabinet.
“It’s not normal for a severance package to be discussed at cabinet. It was sanctioned by the Department of Finance; you have to have a certain amount of confidence of the department to do their jobs.”
Supporting Tánaiste Mary Coughlan’s decision to review Mr Molloy’s severance package, he said key information was withheld from the board and that Ms Coughlan had decided to act on that.
Mr Gormley said he believed the Garda Fraud Squad was investigating issues that arose from the chairman of the Fás audit committee, Niall Saul’s evidence at the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday but said he was unable to comment further on what these might be.
On what he did discuss with his Fianna Fáil colleagues concerning Mr Molloy’s resignation, Mr Gormley said the party was informed he stepped down and there was a package there for him.
“We assumed and everybody assumed that was the normal package... he then threatened, as I understand it some sort of legal action... the feeling was from the Tánaiste that this would mean extra money from the taxpayer and as a result she took that action.”
Asked did he have full confidence in the Tánaiste, Mr Gormley said “of course””
Mr Gormley said he had always expressed his unease at the large remuneration packages received by some in state service and that actions would be taken to reduce these payments.
“We have to change the culture in this country there is no question about that.”
Asked why such remuneration packages not unacceptable ten months ago, Mr Gormley said “things move slowly, and I think unacceptably slowly, and I think things will change and I think the sort of money we see changing hands here is unacceptably and things will change.”
Speaking earlier, Green Party chairman Dan Boyle suggested that as far as he was aware, no members of his party had known about Mr Molloy’s threat of legal action until it was revealed at the Public Accounts Committee.
“My understanding is that this is something which would have been an interaction between Fás as an organisation, Mr Molloy as an individual and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I know of no Green Party involvement in this whatsoever.”
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