IMO approves review of McNeice tenure

Saturday 23 March 2013 22.10
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George McNeice retired last year with pension fund worth almost €10m
George McNeice retired last year with pension fund worth almost €10m
Dr Paul McKeown said the review would look at every aspect of Mr McNeice's contract
Dr Paul McKeown said the review would look at every aspect of Mr McNeice's contract
The IMO held an EGM in Dublin today
The IMO held an EGM in Dublin today

The Irish Medical Organisation has confirmed that everything former chief executive George McNeice was involved in during his tenure is to be examined in a review by an independent party.

At an EGM in Dublin today, 150 IMO members approved the establishment of a retrospective review.

It will look at all circumstances surrounding Mr Neice's pay and pension entitlements, as well as the ancillary companies in which he was involved.

IMO President Dr Paul McKeown said the review would also look at every aspect of Mr McNeice's contract and terms and conditions of employment.

Dr McKeown said the review would examine payments to third parties over the last 20 years.

Mr McNeice retired in his early 50s with a pension fund worth almost €10m.

Asked whether Mr McNeice had agreed to co-operate with the review, Dr McKeown said he certainly hoped he would, but they were not at that stage yet.

He said the review would be handed over to external reviewers and he was sure they had much skill in encouraging people to participate.

Asked whether the review would seek to interview Minister for Health James Reilly, who was on the remuneration committee when Mr McNeice's contract was agreed, Dr McKeown said he did not want to pre-empt the review.

However, he said he imagined that all individuals involved would be invited to take part.

Earlier, it emerged that Mr McNeice has claimed he is entitled to a further €10,000 for his VHI payments for the next year.

When Mr McNeice retired shortly before Christmas, it emerged that he had accumulated pension entitlements that could have reached €25m.

However, following negotiations, Mr McNeice agreed to settle for a package worth €9.7m.

In recent legal correspondence with the IMO, Mr McNeice has sought almost €10,000 for his VHI payments for the next year, and has also claimed ownership of a painting at the IMO offices.

It is understood Mr McNeice argues that the settlement agreement provides for payment of all salary and emoluments up to 31 March, and that this would include renewal of his VHI subscription.

He also argues that the painting was given to him by a former president of the IMO Cormac McNamara.

Sources said that the IMO has rejected Mr McNeice's claims.

It is understood that the IMO may be prepared to pay a VHI contribution for the remaining ten days of his formal employment, but not a full year's subscription for Mr McNeice and his family.

The IMO has also asked Mr McNeice to prove ownership of the painting.

Two weeks ago, the IMO revealed the details of the settlement with Mr McNeice.

In addition to a pension fund of €4.5m, Mr McNeice will receive a termination payment of €1,495,850 as provided for in his contract.

He will also receive annual payments of "some €200,000" per year from 2016 to 2021, and €250,000 per year from 2021 to 2032.

However, the IMO said that no members' subscriptions would be required to fund the settlement with Mr McNeice.

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