At the start of 2015 the Irish Independent newspaper reported that:
“Several Cabinet ministers last year intervened to bump up the pay of their special advisers, above the level originally proposed by Brendan Howlin’s spending department.
The majority of ministers who presented the “exceptional” cases on behalf of their advisers were Labour Party TDs.
In September, Environment Minister Alan Kelly sought to appoint Liam Cahill to an advisory role with a salary of €88,936. Mr Kelly claimed Mr Cahill has “wide-ranging experience” in public administration, as well as a “broad knowledge of public and media relations”.
Separately, Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s officials sought that his adviser Paul Bolger be paid €3,000 more than the level set down by the spending department.
It’s also emerged that Communications Minister Alex White wrote to Mr Howlin’s officials seeking to place his special adviser Bernard Harbor on a scale higher than the standard scale for principal officers.
His adviser Madeline Mulrennan was also offered the highest principal officer salary of €91,624, an October 15 document states.
Documents also show that Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney secured a €25,000 salary increase last July for his adviser Caitriona Fitzpatrick.
It was previously revealed that Tánaiste Joan Burton sought to have her former PA Karen O’Connell put on a salary of €79,401 but sanction was given for €75,647.
Ms Burton’s chief of staff Ed Brophy also saw his salary increased from €119,572 to €144,550 – and she secured a salary of €114,424 for her economic adviser Terry Quinn.”
How typical of contemporary Ireland that the last day of 2015 ended on a similar note, as once again the Labour Party in government displayed its utter contempt for the political integrity and financial sacrifices it demands of others. The republic burns so Joan Burton and company can fiddle. From the Irish Examiner:
“The Labour leader was forced to defend the salaries of her chief of staff, Ed Brophy, and her economic adviser, Terry Quinn, after it emerged their pay packets, of €144,550 and €114,424, respectively, exceed the €92,672 ceiling set when the Coalition came to office.
The figures, revealed by Fianna Fáil social protection spokesman Willie O’Dea last night, show Mr Brophy is earning €51,878 more than the cut-off point introduced by the Government in 2011.
He joined Ms Burton’s backroom team in late 2011 as a special adviser on a €127,796 salary, before being promoted to the role of chief of staff in July 2014.
Mr Quinn, who joined as an economic adviser just after the Coalition came to power, is earning €21,752 more than pay-cap rates for special advisers allow.
Mr O’Dea said the figures “illustrate the hypocrisy” of the Government.
A spokesman for Ms Burton last night said the high salaries are justified…”
Especially when the Labour Party knows that for most members and hangers-on the “mercs an’ perks” of high office will soon be no more than a distant memory.