With a root-and-branch review of Leader companies being mooted by the Department of the Environment, Longford Community Resources Ltd’s Chief Executive has stated that his organisation represents value for money.
An article published in the Irish Independent on Tuesday of last week, May 13, reported that up to one-third of the public funding received by the country’s 50 non-profit local development companies is being spent on wages, and that Environment Minister Phil Hogan TD is preparing a comprehensive review of the organisations as a result.
Responding to the article’s claims, Adrian Greene, CEO of Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL), which would be examined as part of such a review, told the Longford Leader he would welcome the move.
“We’re very efficient in our operations,” he said. “However, I think any such review should take into consideration all of the funding sources obtained by the local development companies.”
Mr Greene went on to reference a Smith Everett & Associates report commissioned by the Irish Local Development Network last year, which analysed staff and administration costs at these development companies, and the net contribution they make to the exchequer.
“This report found that local development companies returned €3 for every €1 invested in them,” he stated. “You also have to consider that this is community-based work - it’s not just ‘nine-to-five’.
“In that respect, too, we represent value for money.”
Also included in the Irish Independent article were details of the CEOs’ salaries at each of the LDCs, with eleven CEOs listed as earning more than €92,000 per annum.
According to the figures published by the paper, LCRL’s Adrian Greene receives a salary of €74,890. Mr Greene claims the reported figure is inaccurate.
While he declined to provide further details of his salary, he asserted that “the figure in the article is wrong - it’s lower than that,” before adding that, “My salary is set by LCRL’s board of directors.”
Sean Hannon, acting Chairman of LCRL’s Board of Directors, said Mr Greene’s salary was on the lower end of the scale.
“It compares well compared to other salaries in the field,” he explained. “And if you look at similar local government positions, they’re better paid.”
Mr Hannon also said that administration accounted for “only 18 or 19 per cent” of LCRL’s expenditure.