Advisers' pay issue mishandled, says Quinn
on 17/07/2012 00:00:00
The Government set a pay cap of €92,672 for special advisers but then proceeded to breach it for a number of appointees.
While Mr Quinn's own advisers are beneath or in line with the cap, Joan Burton's special adviser, Edward Brophy, is paid almost €128,000. Richard Bruton's special adviser, Ciaran Conlon, is paid €127,000. Brendan Howlin's special adviser, Ronan O'Brien, is paid €114,000.
In addition, four senior advisers were appointed without being subject to the pay cap. They were Enda Kenny's chief aides, Mark Kennelly and Andrew McDowell, who each earn €168,000, and Eamon Gilmore's advisers, Mark Garrett and Colm O'Reardon, who earn €168,000 and €155,000 respectively.
A recent Labour survey revealed advisers' salaries were the biggest concern of the party's TDs and senators, reflecting the dissatisfaction they were hearing on doorsteps about the issue.
Mr Quinn acknowledged yesterday that it was an issue that had come up on doorsteps in the recent fiscal treaty referendum.
"That was only because we set a bar for pay that we broke ourselves.
"In retrospect, yes, we would have done it differently if we had the chance, given the way it was done.
"I suspect every day in retrospect, about at least two of 10 decisions that I would make I would do differently."
If he had the chance to do things again, he would "probably set a more realistic level of remuneration".
However, Mr Quinn reiterated the Government's argument that the cost of their special advisers was significantly lower than the previous administration's.
"The pay that they're on now is a fraction, is half of what it was under Bertie Ahern. Coalition governments would not work without special advisers."