Senior HSE executive secures €389,000 in exit deal approved in recent days

Agreement, reached following mediation, was authorised by Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure

One of the most senior executives in the HSE is to receive a redundancy package of nearly €400,000 under a deal approved by Government departments and finalised in recent days.

The HSE said on Wednesday that Dean Sullivan, who was appointed six years ago as deputy director general, had left its employment “by agreement and redundancy”.

Details of the agreement with Mr Sullivan is likely to generate further controversy over redundancy payments in the public sector, coming in the wake of revelations of payments made to senior executives in RTÉ.

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


Mr Sullivan had been employed by the HSE since July 2017 as deputy director general – chief strategy and planning officer, initially for a five-year period. In July 2022 he became HSE chief strategy officer.

The HSE 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 on the background to Mr Sullivan’s departure.

The confirmation by the HSE of the agreement came a number of weeks after the health authority set out changes to its senior management team and their roles and responsibilities.

HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster said the redundancy agreement involving Mr Sullivan had been reached following “a lawful mediation process” which provided for confidentiality.

He said Mr Sullivan had agreed to the release of the amount involved in the agreement but not to any other aspect of the content.

Mr Gloster said the agreement regarding Mr Sullivan had been approved “at all appropriate levels including the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform”.

“Public bodies are encouraged as a matter of policy to pursue appropriate options such as this. The HSE has robust legal advice that this agreement is confidential,” he said.

“It would not be possible for the HSE as a public body to act in a manner that would be contrary to the legal standing of the agreement. The HSE is clear that such agreements are not only allowable but necessary and must be at our disposal into the future.”

Mr Sullivan as chief strategy officer in the HSE would have earned an annual salary of about €200,000.

The HSE said on Wednesday that during his employment with the health service he had been involved in drawing up successive annual service plans and other corporate planning.

It said Mr Sullivan had also been involved in leading the development of key strategies for change programmes in the health service.

There was no overall voluntary redundancy scheme announced as part of the reforms to the HSE top management structures which were set out in recent weeks. The last significant voluntary redundancy or early retirement scheme in the health service was introduced about a decade ago.

Controversy continued on Wednesday about exit packages paid to a number of RTÉ executives.

There have been divergences in the accounts, between RTÉ and its chairwoman, Siún Ní Raghallaigh, on the one hand and the Department of Media on the other, on who knew about changes in how severance packages were signed off on at the broadcaster.

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Martin Wall

Martin Wall

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