Ireland's top earners include everyone from politicians to celebrities and now some of our lecturers.
According to The Limerick Leader, there are twenty academic staff earning more than Leo Varadkar, and eight of them are from University Limerick. The majority of the top earners include medical consultants who earn over €200,000, Varadkar earns €190,000.
The UL careers include medical consultants and associate professors who earn between €185,0945 to €222,735, the highest paid person at UL. The highly-paid UL staff are all academic medical consultants – a job that is legitimately exempt from the usual public sector salary rule. These salaries are paid for by the HSE and UL.
In terms of Ireland's other universities, TCD's Provost earns €186,963, five NUIG staff are paid over €187,000 with the top earner receiving €250,000. The highest earner on the list was a UCD member of staff who earns over €336,000 annually. The list is not exhaustive as Trinity College Dublin, UCD and the Royal College of Surgeons did not release full details for what their staff are earning.
Now, thanks to pay caps being lifted on public sector workers, universities have been given the go-ahead to recruit top academics on salaries of up to €337,000 a year. According to previous rules in regards to public sector workers, employees could not earn more than the Taoiseach's salary of €190,000.
Universities are pushing the change to employment rules and an increase in salaries in order to attract academic talent. After years of cost-cutting measures, the Irish Federation of University Teachers is disappointed that an increase of large sums to attract ‘trophy’ staff would overlook the impact that cost-cutting has had on low-ranking researchers.
In 2017 the Higher Education Authority released The Cassells report featuring concerns over growing class sizes, an increase in the size of tutorial groups, less one-on-one contact and time to accommodate diverse learning styles. The report found a worrying increase in the number of teachers to student ratio, rising from 1:16 to 1:20.