At least €6.5 million of taxpayers’ money has been paid towards special advisors, advisors and press officers by all Government departments since 2017, figures show.
The amount of money being spent on ministerial advisors has been described as “staggering” and needs to be looked into immediately, Independent TD Mattie McGrath claims.
The politician is calling for a review of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Instructions to Personnel Officers, specifically those relating to Ministerial Appointments.
Deputy McGrath said: “The replies (to parliamentary questions) I have received today are a source of deep concern.
“They show that in the Taoiseach’s Department alone, a total of 17 advisors have been employed in the last two years, including one communications adviser and four press secretaries.
“Meanwhile, in the Department of Health, there are six special advisors currently employed, four of whom are on the standard scale for the grade of Principal Officer in the Civil Service (€81,661 – €107,548).
“The salaries applicable to the two special advisers appointed to Ministers of State in the Department of Health is the standard scale for the grade of Assistant Principal Officer in the Civil Service (€64,232 – €78,311).”
He added: “If we compare that to the average salaries that a nurse receives – just above €30,000 – then the contrast becomes very striking indeed.
“I think these costs demand further investigation especially when the government is telling us every other day that there is simply not enough money available to provide ordinary working men and women with better pay conditions.”
PROTESTERS had gathered outside the Taoiseach’s house last week after the Health Minister’s private home was targeted.
A gathering of people lined up with placards and posters outside his Castleknock estate in west Dublin where the Taoiseach lives.
A Facebook page uploaded a live video of a ‘yellow vest’ group demanding an end to the housing crisis, the implementation of ways for citizens to get referendums on the ballot paper and for the Taoiseach’s resignation.
At least two Garda cars attended the scene in Castleknock.
A Garda spokesperson said: “We are aware of a group of people gathered in Castleknock. No further details.”
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach’s Department said they were aware of the matter.
Last week a number of protesters stood outside Health Minister Simon Harris’ home in Wicklow.
The group said their protest was to highlight failings in the Irish system and came on the back of the controversial National Children’s Hospital over run.
The group also expressed their anger at the system’s smear test scandal and the nurses’ strikes which was taking place at the time.
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