Tánaistehas said the awarding of €292,000 to the new secretary-general of the Department of Health will “no doubt” lead to knock-on claims from others in the public service.
Mr Varadkar was commenting amid ongoing controversy over the proposed paying of €81,000 more than the next highest-paid secretary-general and a probe by the Dáil’s spending watchdog into the matter.
He said Cabinet approved the appointment of, the former secretary-general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on an interim basis to be the secretary-general at the Department of Health on his current salary of €211,000.
“The cabinet signed off on the temporary appointment ofas interim secretary-general in the Department of Health, and he's there on his existing salary,” he said.
“The party leaders, with the secretary of the government  agreed, that that position would be advertised, and that there will be a higher salary level in order to attract the best candidates for the job. The person who will get that job, who will be the new secretary-general at the Department of Health, will by no means be the best-paid person in the health service, or in the public service, but we do think that it's such an important job at the moment, and also when it comes to implementing Sláintecare that it should carry a salary,” he said.
Asked did he accept the potential knock-on effect of the salary increase by way of demands from other secretaries-general and other top officials, he responded: “No doubt that will happen anytime... there's a pay rise for anyone or any group of people that are knock-on demands, but we deal with them, as we always do, mostly by saying no.”