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Special advisers to Government ministers' earn over €4.5 million in salaries

The advisers’ pay ranges from €67,659 to €180,276, with 18 of them earning more than €100,000.

Image: Julien Behal Photography via RollingNews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS released details of a €4.5 million pay package earned by special advisers who counsel ministers and ministers of state.

The latest list of government special advisers published today shows the pay rates of 48 different media and policy advisers employed to provide advice to different ministers.

The combined yearly earnings of the advisers comes to a total bill of €4,508,405, however that figure doesn’t include the pay of Alan Ahearne, who is on a part-time secondment from NUI Galway to advise Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

The highest earner on the list is the Taoiseach’s adviser Deirdre Gillane, who has an annual salary of €180,276. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s adviser Brian Murphy comes in second with a salary of €171,263.

A total of 18 of the advisers earn more than €100,000, a further eight earn more than €90,000 and 13 earn between €87,000-€89,072. The advisers with the lowest pay earn €67,659. The salaries exclude pension and other entitlements.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan has the largest and most expensive set of advisers. His team of eight includes two people who job-share and the total cost amounts to €729,669.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s team is the second-most expensive, with his six advisers earning €678,639 between them.

The bill for the Taoiseach’s six advisers comes to €583,626, however that does not include Alan Ahearne’s pay.

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The list of advisers includes numerous former journalists including Fiach Kelly, Paul Melia and Susan Mitchell who all earn €101,114 each. 

Other advisers who previously worked as journalists are Sarah Bardon, Niall O’Connor and Colette Sexton, who all have an annual salary of €94,487.

Publishing the list of appointments today, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said: “The formal appointment of a Special Adviser requires a Government Order to be made in each instance.

“The process to formally appoint Special Advisers for the 33rd Dáil is being progressed by the relevant Ministers at this time.”

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Ceimin Burke

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