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

The Taoiseach overruled both the Finance Minister and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to grant his long-time former advisor a salary of €127,000, the Irish Mail on Sunday has revealed.
Dec 4th 2011, 3:30 PM 11,172 185

Updated 15.30

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has breached his Government’s self-imposed pay cap by approving a €35,000 pay rise for one of his former advisors.

The Irish Mail on Sunday details how Kenny wrote to Secretary General at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last March to ask for his former advisor Ciaran Conlon be awarded an annual salary of €127,000 – well over the €92,000 cap on the salaries of special advisors that his Government has agreed upon.

Conlon had served as advisor to Kenny for eight years.

Both Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, disagreed with the proposal. However, Kenny insisted that the amount was justified “in this specific case” and, after much negotiation, the payment was approved.

Conlon is now advisor to Richard Bruton, although it is not thought that he had any involvement in his salary negotiations.

Meanwhile, this afternoon the Transport Minister Leo Varadkar defended the amount paid to Conlon, reports Varadkar said: “We decided that we would pay advisors at the level of principal officer in the civil service…but an exception would be made if the person was coming from a job in the private sector where they were being paid a lot more, where they were taking a pay cut to come and work for the Government”.

He added: “In 14 cases, we recruited really good people who were in really good jobs in the private sector who were being paid a lot more.”

The revelation comes just hours before the Taoiseach is due to address the nation tonight, when he is expected to tell the public that everyone must make sacrifices in order to reduce Ireland’s crippling public deficit.

Read: Taoiseach to address the nation tonight>

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Jennifer Wade


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