Minister Donohoe announces establishment of Senior Post Remuneration Committee to guide Government’s work 

6th March, 2024

The Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) announced the establishment of the Senior Posts Remuneration Committee. In line with the recommendations of the Independent Review Panel (IRP) on Senior Public Service Recruitment and Pay Determination Processes, the Committee will provide objective and independent advice to the Minister regarding the remuneration of senior roles in the Public Service. Government has agreed that office-holders will not be within scope for the Committee to review.  

Following Government agreement earlier this year to place the Committee on a statutory footing, the Committee will operate on an administrative basis in parallel with the necessary legislation being progressed with the publication of the General Scheme today following Government approval.

Government has agreed to confirm the term length for Secretary General posts at seven years, which reflects current procedures, with a possible extension of up to two additional years where necessary. As recommended in the Independent Review Panel Report on completion of this term of appointment, all future appointees to Secretary General posts will be offered revised arrangements at the end of their term. These revised conditions will be put in place for all posts to be identified from this point onwards. 

As per the recommendations of the Report of the Independent Review Panel, the first review of the Committee will be the pay rates of CEOs of Commercial State Bodies (CSBs). Minister Donohoe will be writing to the Committee shortly to initiate this important work. 

 Minister Donohoe stated:

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the members of the Senior Posts Remuneration Committee (SPRC) to their new role as they commence work on this important area. The members are all highly qualified and experienced, and I look forward to receiving their advice in due course. 

In addition, in addressing the recommendations of the Report of the Independent Review Panel in respect of the term and arrangements for these very senior posts Government is enhancing clarity, consistency and transparency for all stakeholders while retaining an ability to preserve experience within the system.”

Notes to Editors 

  1. Senior Posts Remuneration Committee

There are five members of the Senior Posts Remuneration Committee who are as follows:


Ms Maeve Carton: Ms Carton is a chartered accountant and member of the Professional Standards Board of Chartered Accountants Ireland.  She is a Governor of the Irish Times Trust and a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of International & European Affairs (IIEA), former Chairperson of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and worked for most of her career with CRH plc in a variety of roles including Group Finance Director and Group Transformation Director.  


Ms Bernie Gray: Ms Gray is a management consultant and a partner in Betterboards. She is an accountant and a Chartered Director and formerly held a number of senior management positions in Telecom Eireann, and was latterly HR Director.

She is currently Chair of Coillte plc, a member of the Civil Service Performance Review Group and National Broadband Ireland. She has held a number of non– executive roles including former Chairperson of Eirgrid plc, Board member Irish Payment Services Organisation, Public Appointments Service and Telecom Eireann (now eircom), and a member of the DCU Governing Authority.

Mr Liam Kelly: Mr Kelly is a former Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission, and has long and deep employment law and industrial relations experience in both the public and private sectors. He was directly involved in the drafting of legislation around collective bargaining rights, and minimum wage and sectoral bargaining structures. 

Ms Mary Connaughton FCIPD: Ms Connaughton is the director CIPD Ireland, a board member of the Public Appointments Service and Vice-Chair of the Retirement Planning Council. Previously, she was Head of HR Development at IBEC. Director, Graphite Human Resource Management. Partner, Emerge Consulting. Training and Development / HR Manager, Bank of Ireland Life.

Mr Ultan Courtney: Mr Courtney is currently Chairperson of the Low Pay Commission, and previously a member of the Public Service Pay Commission. He was appointed to the Board of CIÉ and as Chairman of Bus Átha Cliath in September 2014. He has wide experience in the Human Resources and Industrial Relations field. Mr Courtney is Managing Director of his own consultancy business and previously held positions in C&C Group Plc, Superquinn, Waterford Foods and IBEC. He holds a Degree in Economics, an M.A. from Trinity College Dublin and numerous qualifications in the areas of business strategy, employment law, mediation, arbitration and corporate legal governance.

  1.             End of Term Arrangements

The IRP made a number of recommendations in relation to terms and conditions of senior civil servants. This was in order to enhance consistency, clarity and transparency for all stakeholders.  

Government has agreed the a number of changes to the term length and end of term arrangements for Secretary General posts and Heads of certain Civil Service Offices at Secretary General level: 

  • Confirming a seven-year term, and agreement to a possible extension of up to a further two years, for a maximum of nine years subject to Government agreement.
  • On completion of this term, and as set out in the draft Heads of Bill published today:
    1. Appointment to a role at Assistant Secretary grade or (where relevant) at the grade level that they occupied immediately prior to their appointment as Head of Department, whichever is the higher, at the appropriate remuneration for this grade, or
    2. A one-time end-of-term payment equivalent to up to one year’s salary*.
  • In addition, Government may appoint a Secretary General at the end of their term into a post at equivalent level for a period of up to five years where it is considered appropriate. This post would be outside the Civil Service Departments and Offices encompassed above.  


*The end-of-term payment of up to one year’s salary is in line with current policy and was found by the IRP to be appropriate. 

As noted in the IRP Report, this is in line with the restrictions on employment put in place by the Standards in Public Office (SIPO) Civil Service Code of Standards. Designated officials under the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour, which includes Secretaries General, are prohibited for a period of 12 months from taking up certain employment or contracts. This is where “the nature and terms of such appointment or engagement could lead to a conflict of interest…”

This end-of-term payment will amount to either one year’s salary or a pro-rata value scaled to minimum pension age, whichever is the lesser. Where the individual is at or above their minimum retirement age superannuation benefits will be payable but no end of term payment will be made.