A SENIOR civil servant who retired in 2010 before returning to his previous job on a part-time contract has been earning €6,000 a month -- on top of an annual pension of over €60,000.
Martin Heraghty, assistant secretary in the Department of Agriculture, has earned almost €121,000 on the part-time contract since taking an incentivised early retirement package in October 2010
Immediately after he retired Mr Heraghty was "re-engaged" in his former position.
He told the Irish Independent yesterday that the department had come to him asking him to continue in the post but he had fully intended retiring from the position.
"I am restricted in the number of days I can work . . . but other than that I am doing the full job within the department," he confirmed.
Under public sector rules, when pensioners are re-hired their pay and their pension cannot be more than their salary when they retired.
Normally, their pension is reduced to stay within this limit, but Mr Heraghty's hours are being restricted instead.
His current contract is due to run out in October, and Mr Heraghty could not say yesterday if the department would want him to stay beyond that, or if he would be willing to sign another contract.
As well as drawing a pension based on his years of service up to 2010, he is now paid on a daily basis for his work which includes responsibility for the meat and milk sectors.
The department declined to give the daily rate.
Mr Heraghty's duties included accompanying Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on his trip to China last month.
Mr Heraghty took early retirement in 2010.
A long career in the department would have netted him a pension of close to half his previous salary which was on a scale between €131,748 and €150,712.
The department said that it had lost six assistant secretaries since the moratorium on recruitment was introduced and that only two of these had been replaced.
It added that Mr Heraghty had been reappointed with the approval of former finance minister Brian Lenihan
Given the importance of food production and exports to economic recovery, along with Ireland's presidency of the EUnext year and reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, the department needed to be well positioned at senior level to cope with the work involved, a statement said.
The department could not say if it would be necessary to extend the arrangement beyond October.
Mr Heraghty is one of six assistant secretaries in the department and he has responsibility for meat and milk policy and hygiene, dairy controls, food safety liaison with Northern Ireland and food industry development.
He took early retirement under the Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement which was made available in 2009-10 to civil servants over 50 years old.
This offered them an immediate pension based on years served plus a 10pc lump sum, with the 90pc lump sum balance to be paid at normal retirement age of 60 or 65.
Mr Heraghty is also the department's representative on the board of farm education and research body Teagasc, but said that he did not receive any additional remuneration for that post.
He said that the number of assistant secretaries was down to six from around 11 or 12 a few years ago.