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Government ‘attempting to weed out’ top-up payments to health executives – Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that over almost a third of the hospitals and health agencies under Section 38 are breaching rules on pay senior executives.
Nov 19th 2013, 9:15 PM 9,764 48

Updated 09.14 PM

THE TAOISEACH HAS confirmed that almost a third of the hospitals and health agencies under Section 38 are breaching rules on pay senior executives.

Enda Kenny was responding to questions about senior staff in State-funded voluntary hospitals being given top-ups on their annual salaries from additional sources, including income from hospital shops.

Kenny said that salary scales must “strictly adhered to” and that “non exchequer sources of funding must not be allowed to supplement agreed salaries”.

“It’s very clear, its very straight, ” he added.

Kenny said that the first breach of this nature was identified in May at Tallaght Hospital and that as a result an audit was carried out. As part of this process, Kenny says that the HSE wrote to all these agencies to inform them of the guidelines and request a response.

Of the 44 written to, seven have confirmed compliance while 13 have confirmed non-compliance. The deadline to issue final response was today said Kenny.

“This Government  in attempting to weed out any additional sweeteners, ” he promised.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that these payments have until now been “hidden under the carpet” and that it “beggars belief” that they have until now be kept from public view.

Martin said that the Taoiseach should recall that Minister for Public  Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin had “declared a Fatwa” on other public allowances in the health service staff. These included, he said, sleepover allowances and footwear allowances but not the top-ups now revealed:

These premier league allowances were exempt from that review, were not included and have been tolerated on an ongoing basis.

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It was wrong said Martin to “ask newly qualified nurses to survive on €22,000 when those at the top are taking top-up allowances of €30,000 above their salaries.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that “there is still a culture of privilege” which he says is fuelled by the actions of Government Ministers in payments to their advisors.

Joan Collins TD of People Before Profit wanted the Taoiseach to make a pledge to identify ways of recovering the executive payments that breached regulations.

Read: HSE pay breach ‘should be addressed’ – Howlin >

Read: “Wouldn’t one increase have been enough?” – Martin hits out at insurance levy rise >

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Rónán Duffy

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