Three DCU professors were selected among the 15 appointees in Ireland to receive wages ranging from €150,000 to €250,000, according to the Department of Education.
The reason why these wages are so high is to enable universities “to hire an international star researcher”, Ned Costello, CEO of Irish Universities Association, said to the Irish Independent. If the wages offered were in line with other professors, they “simply will not take employment here for the rate on offer”, Mr Costello said.
While most professors earn less than €150,000, the Universities Act allows for larger salaries only in exceptional circumstances. Currently the highest paid salary in this scheme is €256,930.
Figures released from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) show that a quarter of Irish University professors are earning more than €100,000 a year, and of these, 83 are earning up to €200,000.
The average salary for professors in Dublin’s three universities is around €130,000, according to figures from each of their websites. This is considerably greater than the average of other European universities, such as Oxford (€106,193) and Cambridge (€111,445) in the United Kingdom.
The issue was recently raised in a parliamentary question in the Dail by Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh. In 2010 an investigation by the Public Accounts Committee found that the salary of Irish professors surpassed those of professors in the UK, Canada and America.
“Personally I think it is absolutely ridiculous. These wages are completely excessive when you compare them to schoolteacher wages or the other public paid jobs”, DCU Journalism student Ryan McBride said of the salaries.
“I think some drastic changes need to be made in the education sector of Ireland. Over the past few years austerity measures have hit everyone hard and it seems very unfair that these salaries remain so high”, P.E and Biology student John Carney said.