Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for an immediate review of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Instructions to Personnel Officers, specifically those relating to Ministerial Appointments.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after information provided to him in a number of Parliamentary Questions showed that at least €6.5 million has been paid toward the retention of Special Advisors, Advisors and Press Officers by all government departments since 2017:
“The replies I have received today are a source of deep concern.
They show that in the Taoiseach’s Department alone, a total of 17 Advisors have been employed in the last two years, including 1 Communications Adviser and 4 Press Secretary’s.
Meanwhile in the Department of Health there are 6 Special Advisors currently employed, 4 of whom are on the standard scale for the grade of Principal Officer in the Civil Service (€81,661 – €107,548).
The salaries applicable to the 2 special advisers appointed to Ministers of State in the Department of Health is the standard scale for the grade of Assistant Principal Officer in the Civil Service (€64,232 – €78,311).
If we compare that to the average salaries that a nurse receives-just above €30,000-then the contrast becomes very striking indeed.
I think these costs demand further investigation especially when the government is telling us every other day that there is simply not enough money available to provide ordinary working men and women with better pay conditions,” concluded Deputy McGrath.