No exemptions for salary top-ups, says Donohoe

Political Reporter

No exemptions from emergency public service pay and pensions cuts have been granted, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has said.

Mr Donohoe yesterday said unauthorised salary top-ups given to staff would not be tolerated after details of the salaries of senior St John of God staff emerged.

Siptu has this week written to Mr Donohoe seeking clarification around 14 senior managers of the St John of God organisation who reportedly received €1.6m in top-ups.

St John of God is a Section 38 body, which means it is funded by the HSE and its employees are usually considered to be public servants.

However, the St John of God organisation claimed its CEO John Pepper, who earns €182,000, had left the public service in 2013 and so was not subject to the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) measures.

FEMPI legislation was brought in as an emergency measure in the wake of the economic crash and cut public servants’ pay by over 10%.

Mr Donohoe said those receiving public salaries cannot have them topped up by private means and added that all public service workers were subject to the cuts under FEMPI.

“I expect the FEMPI legislation to be applied to everybody, low and middle-income workers who have seen significant change in their pay,” Mr Donohoe told the Dáil.

He said that St John of God payments are now “subject of an investigation and interrogation by the HSE and the Department of Health”.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin also raised the matter in the Dáil yesterday and asked Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to confirm that all Section 38 agencies — such as St John of God — are in full compliance with the HSE requirements regarding board and corporate governance.

He asked Ms Fitzgerald to confirm that all agencies adhere now to Department of Health pay scales in all circumstances.

Ms Fitzgerald said reviews of all section 38 providers are being conducted by external consultants and said over-payments were also being looked into by Mr Donohoe’s department.

Editorial: 10


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