Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Spokesperson Sean Fleming TD has responded to revelations about the scale of top-up payments to health sector bosses and has warned about the threat of the revelations to voluntary fundraising efforts across the country.

Deputy Fleming is calling on Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin to clarify whether these additional payments were dealt with during the Haddington Road process and to explain why frontline cuts were implemented before dealing with these inflated salaries.

He commented, “People across the country will listen to these latest revelations about top-up payments for the most senior health sector executives with a mixture of incredulity and anger.

“At a time when hospitals and families across the country are struggling to cope with the impact of service cuts and communities pull together raising money to supplement the income of voluntary hospitals, the idea that those who lead these hospitals require top-ups to salaries in excess of €200,000 beggars belief. To put these top-ups into context, the additional payment to just one hospital executive is more than the annual salary of a recently fully qualified nurse.

“This practice is also evidence of a worrying disconnect between the leadership of some of these institutions and the plight of the people who rely on them.

“There are serious questions arising for the Minister. Specifically, what was done during the Haddington Road process to end these payments, and why have service cuts been introduced while these payments are still in place?

“Those who drive fundraising efforts in communities across the country deserve answers to these questions immediately. Similarly, the thousands of nurses and other staff who have endured years of cuts to their income deserve an explanation of how this practice has been allowed to continue.”