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Ex-HSE chief who received nearly €400,000 exit package now working with NI health service

Former deputy director general Dean Sullivan got €388,983 on departure from Republic’s health service ‘by agreement and redundancy’

The former senior HSE executive who received nearly €400,000 on leaving the organisation is now working with the health service in Northern Ireland.

The HSE said in late February that Dean Sullivan, who was appointed about 6½ years ago as deputy director general, had left its employment “by agreement and redundancy”.

It said Mr Sullivan would receive €388,983 as part of the agreement but “would not receive all of that amount net”. It did not elaborate further on the payment or the background to Mr Sullivan’s departure.

The deal governing Mr Sullivan’s departure from the health service came about following a mediation process, said the HSE.


Mr Sullivan had been employed by the HSE since July 2017 as deputy director general — chief strategy and planning officer, initially for five years. In July 2022 he became Health Service Executive chief strategy officer.

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland said Mr Sullivan was working with the regional co-ordinating centre there. It said this was an initiative established by the six health and social care trusts in the North as part of a winter planning strategy in December of last year.

It said it had been set up to support trusts “to manage the significant service pressures across the regional urgent and emergency care system”.

“The Regional Co-ordinating Centre role is currently delivered by a team of associates from [the] Health and Social Care leadership centre on a short-term, non-contractual basis, through established appointment processes,” said the department. “Mr Dean Sullivan is one of a number of associates currently assisting the trusts in respect of this work. He joined the team on 26th February, 2024.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe have publicly backed the deal reached between the HSE and Mr Sullivan.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the amount involved included “a legal settlement payment to address legal and financial risks and a redundancy/severance”.

Mr Donohoe maintained the exit deal for Mr Sullivan was in keeping with Government policy. “The severance element of it is completely in line with our policy regarding redundancy programmes.”

He also said part of the deal had come about as a result of a legal process and a mediation which had been chaired by a senior counsel.

Mr Donnelly said he had been aware of the exit package for Mr Sullivan and had received “full assurance” that the correct process had been followed. He said while he was unaware of any other upcoming redundancy packages for staff in the HSE, there “may well be” some.

“Certainly we are reorganising the HSE. I believe, and the chief executive believes, we need a slimmer centre,” he said. “What we don’t want to do is simply hire more and more managers across the country and in some cases that does mean making roles redundant.”

He added: “Is it possible that there will be more during a big reorganisation like this? Yes, It is possible.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent