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Quinn admits that breaching of salary cap for advisers was a mistake

The Education Minister was responding to reports that the issue of the salary cap being breached for some ministerial advisers was prominent on the doorstep during the referendum campaign.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

EDUCATION MINISTER RUAIRÍ Quinn has admitted that the breaching of salary caps for some ministerial advisers was a mistake but has said it is unlikely that salaries for those advisers will be revisited.

Quinn was responding to reports that the issue of breaching of salary caps was one of the main talking points on the doorstep during the referendum campaign telling RTÉ Radio that it was “a mistake on our part”.

It was disclosed late last year that the Taoiseach had breached the salary cap set by his own government of €92,000 in requesting that his former advisor Ciaran Conlon be paid €127,000 while working for the Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton.

There have been further disclosures of the salary cap being breached in the case of Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s special advisor and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar’s ministerial adviser.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Quinn said: “I think we set ourselves a ceiling which in some circumstances we breached and that was a mistake on our part.

“But the salaries are significantly lower than the massive salaries and the numbers of advisers is lower,” he added saying that the salaries of advisers in the previous administration had been “outrageous”.

Asked if the fact he believed it was a mistake to award such salaries would mean that the government would reconsider salaries for these advisers for next year, Quinn said it was unlikely.

“These are matters that have already been decided and the salaries are being fixed and we’re moving on from that from our point of view,” adding: “I don’t think there will be.”

Read: Taoiseach breaches pay cap to award former advisor €35k pay rise

Read: Special adviser’s €130,000 salary ‘shows utter hypocrisy of cost-cutting’

Read: Leo Varadkar says €135k salary request didn’t break the rules

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Hugh O'Connell

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