Raising the issue in the Dáil with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Adams said a “culture of privilege” across the upper echelons of the public sector was encouraged by continued breach of pay caps for Government Advisers.
He said the Government was living in a bubble and pointed out that the Taoiseach is paid more than the President of France, a country with a population of 64 million. Meanwhile, in stark contrast, he said planned cuts to the One Parent Family Payment will push lone-parent families further into poverty.
Gerry Adams said:
“Recent salary increases for Special Advisers are in direct breach of Cabinet Guidelines. An Adviser to Environment Minister Alan Kelly was paid €85,750 to advise him on, of all things, housing strategy and Irish Water. That is €5,000 above the recommended level.
“Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who wants to impose austerity on the Greeks, sought to have an adviser paid €3,000 more than the Cabinet guideline.
“This was initially rejected because, according to Minister Howlin, there was ‘no compelling reason to sanction the increase’. Five days later, Minister Howlin granted this increase. What was the compelling reason for this?
“Minister Alex White had an adviser put on a salary of €91,624. This was €12,000 higher than the salary originally offered. Minister Simon Coveney secured a €25,000 salary increase last July for an adviser.
“What all of this exposes, once again, is that there is no austerity for the Government. A culture of privilege across the upper echelons of the public sector has been encouraged by this continued breach of pay caps for Ministerial Advisers.
“Meanwhile the Government imposes spay cuts on frontline staff, destroy public services and cut benefits to the most vulnerable. For example, lone parents, who are also carers, will lose €86 per week if your Government goes ahead with its cuts to the One Parent Family Payment. This will push these families further into poverty.
“The continued breach of pay guidelines for Ministerial advisers is also a breach of Enda Kenny’s own election promises and the Government’s much vaunted commitment to reform of the political system.
“The Government is living in a bubble, a golden circle. The Taoiseach is paid more than the President of France, a country with population of 64 million people.
“The Tánaiste’s chief of staff gets a salary of €144,550, nearly as much as the President of France. Her economic adviser is on €114,424. Joan Burton sought to have her former PA put on a salary of €79,401. She eventually settled for €75,647. It would be great if she negotiated as strongly for citizens in difficulties.
“While she lobbies for these extravagant pay hikes for her advisers, the Tánaiste plans to lower the cut-off age for One Parent Family Payment to 7 years from 2nd July. 63% of one-parent households are now living without basic necessities. If Joan Burton’s cut goes ahead, thousands of one-parent families will be pushed further into poverty.
“In light of the hardship and restraint being imposed on citizens through the Government’s austerity policies, the continued breach of pay guidelines for extremely well-paid Ministerial advisers is entirely unacceptable.”