HSE severance payments exceed €3.1m over the past five years

Health authority confirms 17 people received exit packages in the years 2019 to 2024 inclusive, with amount aggregated

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has paid out more than €3.1 million in exit, severance or redundancy payments to staff in the past five years.

The health authority confirmed that 17 personnel in total received severance payments on their departure from the organisation in the years 2019 to 2024, inclusive. The HSE said the total cost of these severance payments was €3,128,921.

The HSE said the amount was an aggregate in order not to identify the payment to any individual.

The details were set out by the HSE in answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Kildare TD Catherine Murphy of the Social Democrats.

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A number of TDs have questioned Government departments in recent weeks about severance payments made to their own staff or personnel in State agencies that fall within their aegis.

This followed the emergence of details about payments to senior figures in RTÉ over recent months and the revelationthat a former deputy director general of the HSE had received close to €400,000 on his departure from the organisation earlier this year.

Meanwhile, EirGrid, the State-owned body that manages and develops the country’s electricity grid, said it had paid out more than €400,000 in severance packages in recent years.

EirGrid said in reply to a parliamentary question that, from 2019 to date, it made three severance payments of between €100,000 and €200,000.

“These payments totalled in aggregate €441,000. These amounts have been aggregated in order not to identify the amounts paid to any individual person,” it said.

The HSE said in late February that Dean Sullivan, who was appointed in 2017 as deputy director general, had left its employment “by agreement and redundancy”.

It said Mr Sullivan would receive €388,983 as part of the agreement but “would not receive all of that amount net”. It did not elaborate further on the payment or the background to Mr Sullivan’s departure.

The deal governing Mr Sullivan’s departure from the health service came about following a mediation process, said the HSE.

Mr Sullivan had been employed by the HSE since July 2017 as deputy director general – chief strategy and planning officer, initially for five years. In July 2022, he became the HSE’s chief strategy officer.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe have publicly backed the deal reached between the HSE and Mr Sullivan.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the amount involved included “a legal settlement payment to address legal and financial risks and a redundancy/severance”.

Mr Donohoe maintained the exit deal for Mr Sullivan was in keeping with Government policy. “The severance element of it is completely in line with our policy regarding redundancy programmes.”

He also said part of the deal had come about as a result of a legal process and a mediation which had been chaired by a senior counsel.

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