A recent survey conducted by The Irish Times has revealed five UCD staff members as being among the ten highest paid in education in the country.
The survey, compiled by Peter McGuire, reveals the identities of five prominent UCD staff and their salaries; among them UCD President Dr Hugh Brady and Conway Institute Vice-President Professor Desmond Fitzgerald, who holds the title of the highest paid staff member of the Irish education sector.
Five UCD staff members earn over €200,000 per annum, in contrast to merely one staff member from Trinity College, one from University College Cork, and one from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Furthermore, only one member of Dublin Institute of Technology’s staff earns over €150,000.
The report refers to UCD President Dr Hugh Brady as “one of the most prominent and controversial figures in Irish education,” but credits him with having “brought about sweeping changes at Ireland’s largest university”. The article also mentions that Dr Brady was recently reprimanded by the Public Accounts Committee for having paid €1.6 million in illegal and unauthorised bonuses to UCD staff.
The survey has also given rise to the issue of gender in the education sector, as only 21 out of the top 100 earners are women. Yet of these 21, 13 earn over €150,000 per annum.
UCD has 13 staff members in the top 100; Trinity and DCU, ten; UCC, nine; and DIT, seven.
McGuire highlights the issue of capping salaries at €100,000 per annum for university staff; echoing calls from student bodies to cap staff salaries as opposed to raising the student registration fee. However, many of the highest paid staff members have already taken a pay cut, says the report, with Professor Desmond Fitzgerald having had his salary reduced by €150,000 in the past year.
The report also cites university claims that in order to provide a high quality of education, they need to pay high figures to those providing that education.
In March of last year, the then Minister for Education, Batt O’Keefe, asked the seven university presidents to take a 10 per cent pay cut. As of yet, there has been no response to this request and salaries for university presidents remain in the region of €200,000 per annum.
The report also says that over 75 per cent of the current education budget (which is in excess of €8.5 billion) is dedicated to pay and pensions, allowing just over €2 billion to be spent on the rest of the country’s education sector. Of this 75 per cent, over €1 billion is assigned to staff of third level institutions.