The agency that regulates Irish Water settled a legal action taken by one employee that has cost the body more than €500,000 in termination, compensation and legal costs.
The €511,819 gross cost of the settlement is disclosed in the annual report for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) for 2018. The just-published annual report also confirms that the agency paid out €224,818 in bonuses to staff in 2018 as its deficit reduced by 15pc to €933,000.
On the legal action, CRU chairman Paul McGowan, in his accompanying report to the accounts, says the CRU, acting on legal advice, entered into a mediation process to resolve a legal action taken by an employee.
“A settlement was reached in the amount of €375,000 comprising a termination payment and compensation,” he said.
Mr McGowan said €86,243 was recovered through a claim under the commission’s employment practice insurance policy.
He added that “in addition, legal costs of €136,819 were incurred, of which €109,928 is recoverable through a claim under the insurance policy”.
He confirmed that gardening leave payments of €58,902 were also incurred up to the date of the termination.
He said the commission obtained sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Environment in advance of concluding the termination agreement. “The commissioners acknowledge there are lessons to be learnt from the management of this case and have implemented changes which are expected to improve how it would manage a similar case, were one to arise in the future,” he said.