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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Jon Ihle

Central Bank payroll to top €200m amid rising economic uncertainty

Governor of the Central Bank Gabriel Makhlouf. Photo by Steve Humphreys

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) is set to increase its payroll by 4pc to more than €200m under a budget approved by the bank’s board in November, representing more than half of the bank’s planned operating expenditure.

Minutes from a meeting of the Central Bank Commission show total pay is due to increase €8.4m next year out of a total operating budget of just over €371m.

The increased budget, which excludes the incremental investment required in 2023 to fund what the CBI calls its “transformational portfolio of work”, came in well below current inflation levels, reflecting a desire of the bank to be prudent.

“There were concerns raised around adding fixed resources at a time when profits were falling and where costs could exceed income in the coming period,” the minutes said.

“Members noted that there was an uncertain economic environment and there would need to be a very convincing case for embedded increased expenditure.” The minutes also suggested the CBI could trim back discretionary projects to stay within cost parameters next year.

A report from Sarah Keane, chair of the Major Projects Committee, noted limited capacity to take on new projects in 2023, including an outside review of the CBI’s IT systems and processes.

Central Bank of Ireland HQ in Dublin. Photo: Artur Widak/Getty

“Most projects were for remediation or mandate-related purposes and there were very few that were discretionary,” the minutes said.

“This would cause challenges on progressing with items that would be considered transformational, without the requisite investment.

“An input to those considerations would be the external review of the IT function.”

According to the CBI’s annual report for 2021, 302 staff members were earning more than €100,000 in salary

Commission members noted there would be necessary trade-offs in the CBI’s work next year and “it was important to get comfortable with that”.

The Commission also requested a more complete explanation of the trend dynamics driving demand and costs for the bank in recent times, such as the size and complexity of the financial system under supervision.

Governor Gabriel Makhlouf told the Commission he recognised the challenges and that the executive would be focusing on meeting its long-term commitments, including around ambitions to be able to demonstrate effectiveness and efficiency.

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery. Photo: David Conachy

A proposal on the strategic portfolio of work and the associated incremental investment linked to strategic objectives were to be discussed at the Commission’s meeting in December, the minutes for which are due to be published in January.

According to the CBI’s annual report for 2021, 302 staff members, representing about 15pc of employees, were earning more than €100,000 in salary.

Mr Makhlouf earned pay of €293,257, up from €288,220 the previous year.

The salary for the Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery was at €255,006 for 2021.

They were among 12 Central Bank senior officials to be paid more than €190,000 last year.

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