They include average payments of almost €60,000 each to seven former ministerial staff by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2014. Eamon Gilmore left his role as foreign affairs minister when he stepped aside as Labour leader and tánaiste in July 2014.
According to the dep-artment’s 2014 accounts published by the Comptroller and Auditor General this week, it paid a total of €417,787 in severance payments.
Six former ministerial employees at the Department of Education, meanwhile, received a total of €122,700 in severance, redundancy, and minimum notice payments. The figure includes €28,200 paid in lieu of untaken leave, according to the department’s 2014 accounts.
Ruairi Quinn had voluntarily left the post of education minister, claiming he did so to facilitate Mr Gilmore’s replacement as Labour leader Joan Burton in her reshuffle choices. As well as his departure, junior minister Ciarán Cannon was dropped from his role at the same department, and fellow junior minister Sean Sherlock switched roles to a brief at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Under the terms of the guidelines for ministerial appointments for the 31st Dáil, there is provision for the payment of severance to ministerial appointments on the termination of their appointment. The appointment to the positions of special adviser, personal assistant, personal secretary, and civilian driver are co-terminus with the minister or minister of state’s term of office,” the department’s accounts state.
At least two former ministerial staff at the Department of Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources — where Pat Rabbitte was replaced by Labour colleague Alex White — received severances totalling €69,694.
Those three departments’ severances, totalling €610,181, are explicitly linked to former ministerial staff. A further €418,290 was paid by at least three other government departments where ministers resigned, were moved, or dropped in 2014, but the accounts do not make clear if any or all those amounts were in respect of former advisers or others appointed by ministers.
The Department of Justice details that a severance payment of €13,613 was made last year in accordance with the terms of a fixed-term contract. Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter resigned in May 2014 from his roles as both justice and defence minister amid ongoing controversy over policing issues.
The 2014 accounts of the Department of Defence, added to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s portfolio in the July 2014 reshuffle, says that severance and redundancy payments totalling €346,563 were paid to six civilian employees.
The Department of Jobs Enterprise, and Innovation accounts show that three individuals received severance payments totalling €58,114.