Cabinet advisers get pay rise to mark first year

Many ministerial advisers have seen their salaries increase to reward them for their first year in the job.

Details of their pay rises emerged as Labour leader Eamon Gilmore comes under pressure from his backbenchers to reflect on the generous pay levels to advisers.

Mr Gilmore is one of at least nine ministers whose advisers were awarded incremental pay increases after they moved up the civil service pay scale following their first year in the job.

Advisers already in breach of the €93,000 pay cap were not awarded increments.

But most of the remainder got raises of about €3,000 each, and will continue to do so every year during the Coalition’s term in office.

Claire Langton, adviser to Environment Minister Phil Hogan, and Aidan Culhane, adviser to Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan, both saw their salaries rise from €80,051 to €83,337.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton’s press adviser Kathleen Barrington has seen her salary rise from €86,604 to €89,898.

Nick Miller, the press adviser to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar got a pay rise from €80,051 to €83,337.

Mr Varadkar’s special adviser, Brian Murphy, earns a salary of €105,837 and is not subject to an increment.

Anne Byrne, special adviser in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, has seen her salary rise from €83,337 to €86,604.

The same rise was awarded to Finbarr O’Malley — a special adviser to Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte. Mr Rabbitte’s other adviser, Simon Nugent, did not get an incremental pay increase because his salary of €97,200 is already above the pay scale.

At least 13 of the Taoiseach’s staff were given pay rises amounting to over €31,000.

Government press secretary Feargal Purcell saw his salary rise by €3,500 to €119,795, while deputy press secretary Cathy Madden saw her salary rise by €2,941 to €99,236.

Some 12,463 civil servants are due to get pay rises this year. Around 10%, or 1,200, of these already earn over €70,000.

Mr Varadkar angered his Labour colleagues at cabinet last month when he suggested increments could be deferred. Unions argue they are protected under the Croke Park agreement.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe supported Mr Varadkar, saying it was “frustrating” high earners were awarded incremental pay increases when public services were being cut.

Labour is supportive of maintaining pay increments for public servants. But its TDs and senators are concerned that the high level of advisers’ pay is damaging the party’s working-class votes.


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