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Friday 22 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Leah Farrell/
Tánaiste's head of staff is paid €52,000 more than pay cap
A war of words between Labour and Fianna Fáil has erupted on the subject.

Updated: 10.20am

THE TÁNAISTE’S HEAD of staff is paid an annual salary of €144,550 – almost €52,000 above the pay cap for special advisers introduced by the government.

A spokesperson for Joan Burton defended Edward Brophy’s pay, and that of the Tánaiste’s economic advisor Terry Quinn – who is paid €114,424 per year.

The coalition set a €92,672 pay cap in 2011.

The figures were revealed after Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea tabled a parliamentary question on the subject.

O’Dea said the figures “clearly illustrate the hypocrisy of the Labour party”.

It’s just another example of this government saying one thing and then doing another. In reality it is just another broken promise and demonstrates that the government will breach their own rules when it suits them.

He added that this “must be particularly galling to those who have seen huge reductions in their income as a result of decisions” taken by Burton in her role as Minister for Social Protection.

A spokesman for Burton told said Brophy’s salary is “significantly lower than it was in the private sector”, noting he took a pay cut of about a third. 

He added that Quinn’s salary is the same as it was when he worked at the Central Bank.

Brophy joined Burton’s team in 2011 and was promoted to the role of chief of staff on 4 July 2014. Quinn was appointed in 2011.


Burton’s spokesman said it was “incredible” that anyone in Fianna Fáil would “point to issues about ministerial or advisers’ pay… given that the former Taoiseach at one point was close to allowing himself a salary of close to €300,000 or more”.

He said “Fianna Fáil had a ludicrously-inflated pay system for ministers and advisers” that has been “significantly cut by this government”. Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has weighed into the argument on Twitter with the following post:

Since the pay cap was introduced, a number of advisers of Fine Gael and Labour ministers have breached the ceiling.

Read: The 5 ministers whose special advisers still breach the government’s €92k pay cap

Read: Joan is promising a €25 pension increase if Labour gets back into power

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