ESB boss under pressure over €750k salary

THE ESB boss is coming under increasing pressure over his €750,000 salary, which a Fianna Fáil TD said is “not acceptable” when householders face a 5% rise in electricity bills.

Chris Andrews, a backbencher from Dublin South East, said there should be a “significant reduction” in the salaries of semi-state bosses and that nobody could defend the €752,668 earned last year by the highest paid, Padraig McManus. His earnings have ballooned by about €100,000 a year from €495,227 in 2006. He was paid just under €400,000 in bonuses in the past four years.

This bonus along with pension contributions, fees and other perks tipped his salary over the €750,000 even though he agreed to a 10% pay cut in April.

Mr McManus, who has been chief executive since 2002, earns three times the annual salary of Taoiseach Brian Cowen and well above the €500,000 cap on salary for bank executives imposed by the state.

Mr Andrews told Newstalk Radio yesterday that Mr McManus should “absolutely not” earn more than Mr Cowen.

“The Taoiseach is running the country. It’s an unbelievably pressurised job,” he said.

“I understand also that as a country we have to be conscious we’re in a global economy – we have to be competitive and attract the best

“Certainly €750,000 isn’t acceptable in my estimation given the current difficulties we’re going through. Personally I can’t see why anybody can’t work for more than €250,000 a year,” he added.

Consumer and business groups have said every household and every enterprise around the country will be hit by an increase in ESB prices as a result of a Government decision to introduce a 5% Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy in October.

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