The chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association yesterday hit out at what he described as the ‘crocks of gold’ received by retiring university dons.
Mark Fielding’s comments came as figures showed a select group of staff — 22 in all — at Ireland’s universities received lump sum pension payoffs of over €200,000 over the past two years.
However, the representative body for university academics yesterday hit back at what it called Isme’s ‘begrudgery’.
Freedom of Information requests show the highest pension lump sum payout in 2013 and 2012 was received by a retiring member of staff at Dublin City University (DCU) who received €246,810.
The un-named DCU staff member was one of three retirees to receive pension lump sums at the university over €200,000.
The figures for UCD revealed one academic last year received €206,386 and followed three others who each received €214,064, €208,564 and €207,564 in 2012.
Lump sum payments at UCD last year totalled €2.45m with payouts of €5.3m in 2012. The university’s pension expenditure in 2013 was €42.5m compared to €45.7m in 2012.
At Trinity College Dublin, two retiring staff members received lump sums of over €200,000 in 2013, with total payments standing at €2.72m. TCD’s total pension bill in 2013 was €26m compared to €25.46m in 2012.
The figures for UCC show three retirees each received over €200,000 in 2013, with two in that bracket in 2012 with the highest payout made in 2012 at €237,367.
The total lump sum payments at UCC last year came to €2.8m and followed a pension lump sum payout of €5.19m in 2012. The college’s total pension bill last year came to €20m following a total of €19.3m in 2012.
University of Limerick had five retirees receiving over €200,000 in 2013 and 2012, the highest at €228,512. UL’s total pension bill for 2013 was €9.6m, following €9.2m in 2012. NUIG paid three staff pension sums topping €200,000 in 2013 and 2012, with lump sums of €1.1m and €2.1m in that period. The college’s pension bill in 2013 was €15.8m.
NUI Maynooth confirmed no lump sum payments in excess of €200,000 were paid out in 2013 and 2012.
Mr Fielding said: “Once more the disparity between gold-plated public sector pensions and the unsheltered private sector is dramatically highlighted through the retiring university dons’ crocks of gold.”
General secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers Mike Jennings said: “
These pensions didn’t come down the chimney from Santa Claus. These pensions were paid for by the employees concerned over the entire period of their careers.
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