By Kate Palmer
A RECENT Irish Times report has revealed Ireland’s 100 top-earning educators.
With salaries ranging from €112,610 to €263,602, there seems to be no recession felt among these highflying university educators.
The top earner, Professor Des Fitzgerald, is the Vice President for research at UCD. Despite a recent salary cut, his pay reaches the equivalent of 175 students’ registration fees. The original figure exceeded €409,000, but was reduced after UCD came under pressure to justify his extraordinary pay packet.
UCD professors dominate the list, with five educators receiving over €200,000 per annum, and eleven staff members being featured overall. UCD students are currently facing severe education cuts. The university itself is also over €12m in debt, but in spite of this staff feature strongly on the list.
Nine of Trinity College Dublin’s staff are featured in the top 100 survey, which is compiled by Peter McGuire. Just falling short of the top ten is number 11 earner, Provost John Hegarty, who recently received a pay rise to the tune of €202,118. Vice Provost and Chief Academic Officer Patrick Prendergast, is featured at number 21 with a salary of €156,249. A number of staff from Trinity College did not disclose their exact salary to the survey, including the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Michael Marsh. College provided a salary scale of between €108,048 and €138,665 for Marsh, who is also a Fellow of the College.
It is therefore not surprising that over two-thirds of the €8.95bn national education budget is absorbed by pay and pensions. This leaves a remaining €2.24bn to cover all other education expenses. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Ireland has one of the lowest levels of education spending out of 33 participating countries.
Overall, 479 academics on the professional salary scale were included in the survey, all of whom are earning at least €100,000 per annum.
The survey takes place in the midst of increasing controversy over public-sector pay levels. Opposition parties have called for a cap on a public service salary at €100,000.
UCD have justified their payouts by pointing to the role of their senior staff in elevating the university to a top 100 world institution. It seems that Ireland’s universities are caught between attracting the best and defending their high payouts.
It remains to be seen whether the country’s financial state will affect future educational salary surveys.