Taoiseach breaches Govt's salary cap for special advisors - report

Enda Kenny has breached the Government's self-imposed salary cap by granting a €35,000 pay increase to one of his former advisors.

Enda Kenny has breached the Government's self-imposed salary cap by granting a €35,000 pay increase to one of his former advisors.

With just hours to go until the Taoiseach makes his State of the Nation address, details of correspondence concerning the pay rise emerged in the Mail on Sunday.

Mr Kenny wrote to the Secretary General at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last March asking that the salary of the new advisor to the Jobs Minister, Ciaran Conlon, be raised to €127,000.

Under new pay rates set by the Government, the maximum annual salary a special advisor can earn is €92,000.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin objected to the pay hike, but they were overruled by the Taoiseach who argued it was appropriate in this "specific case".

Public affairs correspondent with the Mail on Sunday Ken Foxe said this was not the first time the Government has breached its own pay caps.

"Many of the special advisors were appointed at pay levels much higher than the salary cap…It seems arbitrary to have introduced the pay cap and to have broken it time and time again," he said.

*Enda Kenny's 10-minute speech will be broadcast on RTE1 at 9.30pm and on TV3 at 10.15pm tonight.

It is likely the Taoiseach will tonight stress the need for everyone to take the pain of cutting our massive national deficit.

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