ONE IN FIVE of the government’s special advisers are paid more than Department of Finance guidelines which were only laid out in July, it has emerged.
Six of the 30 ministerial advisers receive salaries higher than €92,672 – the limit set out this summer under measures designed to curb runaway pay for ministers’ staff.
In total, salary exemptions have been approved for almost half of the advisers, with 14 paid above the rates that the guidelines suggest.
Each of the 15 government departments is entitled to two advisers. The highest wage was paid to an adviser to Minister Simon Coveney in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who earned €130,000.
That adviser has now left the position. However, four others were also paid more than €100,000 a year. The information emerged in figures given by public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin in answer to a Dáil question.
Earlier this month, Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended an apparent U-turn on advisers’ pay after it emerged that two of his own staff both earn €168,000 per year.
Before being elected in February, Kenny had pledged to cap advisers’ pay at €92,000.