Updated: 27/06/12 : 06:02:09
It was disclosed at yesterday's AGM of the Health Service Executive's
West Forum that an overtime bill of over €50,000 was paid to staff
working at the HSE's Manorhamilton office over a period of two months.
The overtime bill was paid for staff processing 4,300 lump-sum
retirement payments for HSE staff who have retired having reached the
required age and service or for those who opted for the early retirement
scheme to avail of the generous terms.
At the Galway meeting in the Merlin Park Hospital, the national director
for finance, Liam Minihan disclosed the overtime payments to staff,
which include a number of Sligo people, working at the HSE’s office in
Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim.
Mr Minihan informed the Forum members that all of the retirement
payments nationally were processed through the Leitrim office. He said
the processing of the 4,300 claims would in normal circumstances be
carried out over a 12 month period however the staff had done it in
just two months .“So we paid €50,000..."
Chair of the HSE West Forum, Galway's Cllr Pádraig Conneely (FG) posed
the question, “So we paid €50,000 in overtime to process the retirement
Mr Minihan’s HSE colleague, Pam Connolly, defending the expenditure
said, “It wasn’t just a matter of calculating the payments that had to
be made.” She stated that the work by the staff at Manorhamilton
involved a lot of background work to confirm the years served by the
A HSE report circulated at the meeting yesterday confirmed that the
overtime payments to the Leitrim staff contributed to the HSE West being
€26.3 million over budget for the first four months of the year.
However, Mr Minihan’s report recorded that overtime payments across the
west – stretching from Donegal and Sligo to Limerick and North Tipperary
– was actually down for the first four months of this year on the
corresponding period last year.
The report confirmed that overtime payments were €15.6 million for the
four months and down €1.55 million on the corresponding period last
The irony of the situation is that SligoToday.ie
understands that a
significant number of those retiring from the HSE are being rehired
under new contracts whilst still availing of all the benefits of the
retirement packages. Most are being rehired though expensive agencies.
The Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher speaking in the Dáil
last month claimed that over 3,000 full-time nurses or 1,000 consultants
could be recruited with the amount of money being spent on agency staff
in the health service. Minister for Health James Reilly told the Dáil
that 38 retired HSE staff had been rehired since the February deadline
for qualifying public servants to avail of better retirement terms
before they were reduced."..rehired, at a
cost of over €26 million.."
Last month Northwest MEP Jim Higgins said that over the past 2 years,
over 1,400 staff who had retired from the HSE were later rehired, at a
cost of over €26 million euro. He said the figures and the situation
were and absolute scandal.
Mr Higgins has been in contact with senior HSE management on the issue,
and says they have agreed that retired staff should only be rehired in
exceptional circumstances – yet he says the practice is continuing
across the country.
Jim Higgins is now asking for quarterly updates from the HSE in relation
to the number of retired staff being rehired, as he says the practise
is denying jobs to young qualified graduates
These 're-appontments' has caused disquiet amongst remaining staff,
especially unemployed junior staff who are having to emigrate to seek
The Sligo County Council representatives on the HSE's West Forum are
Cllr Sean MacManus (SF), Cllr Gerry Murray (FG), and Cllr Aoife