A Donegal Sinn Féin TD has said it 'beggars belief' that an adviser for a Junior Minister has started on €13,000 more than the first point on the Principal Officer pay scale.
Mary Mitchell O'Connor's two press advisers earn almost €200,000 a year between them.
It was reported yesterday that the Minister lobbied the Department of Public Expenditure in order to secure a pay rise for one of her advisers, despite them already earning €82,000 a year.
Deputy Pearse Doherty told Ocean FM News that Minister Mitchell O'Connor and the Government have questions to answer.
He said: "It just shows you how out of touch this Government Minister is and how out of touch this Government is - when they think that somebody who is earning €82,000 as an adviser to a Minister for State isn't being paid enough."
However, a Department of Education and Skills spokesperson said the adviser was offered the fifth point on the Principal Officer pay scale "having regard to both her expertise in the field of media and communications and her previous earnings".
"The Department of Education acts in accordance with guidelines for the appointment of Special Advisers as published by the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform," the spokesperson said.
"As a general principle, the Human Resources Unit of the Department offers the first point on the Principal Officer incremental pay scale.
"The Department offered Ms. McQuaid the fifth point on the Principal Officer incremental pay scale, having regard to both her expertise in the field of media and communications and her previous earnings."