Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Public Expenditure Sean Fleming has revealed that five Ministerial advisers are breaching the Government’s own salary cap, which it introduced in 2011. Following replies to a number of Parliamentary Questions, it’s emerged that advisers in the Departments of Health, Public Expenditure and Social Protection are among those earning over €92,000.
Deputy Fleming commented, “Despite promises to contain ministerial adviser salaries, the Government is continuing to appoint officials on salaries which are significantly higher than caps it imposed three years ago. This year alone, two advisers have been appointed in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Health on €106,880 and €99,370 respectively. This is a blatant abuse of measures which were originally brought in to save the Exchequer money, despite assurances from the Government that it would tackle these salaries.
“The taxpayer is forking out well over half a million euro to pay for these five salaries alone, with the pay bill for all ministerial advisers running into the millions. This is a bitter pill for many individuals and families, who are struggling to make ends meet on the average industrial wage, to swallow.
“It is particularly galling for public servants who were forced by threat of emergency legislation to accept the Haddington Road agreement to take pay cuts only for new advisers to come in breaching the salary cap.
“Minister Howlin and Minister Varadkar need to justify the sanctioning of these pay cap breaches. Why are their advisers deemed to be worth more than others? What is the point in imposing a salary cap if they are going to be exceeded year in, year out? It’s disingenuous and insulting.
“It’s possible that there could be further breaches before the end of the year. Many Ministers appointed during the recent Cabinet reshuffle have yet to finalise the contracts for their advisers, and given the Government’s record on this issue, there are no guarantees that all of these appointments will adhere to the pay cap. I will be asking all Ministers to put on record their advisers’ pay once the Dáil reconvenes in September”.