Ministers warn top-up payments could lead to cuts in State funding for hospitals
Taoiseach describes use of donations to fund exective pay at CRC as ‘unacceptable’
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore says it is time for transparency in relation to salaries in the voluntary sector. Photograph: Alan Betson
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Health James Reilly have warned that voluntary hospitals and health agencies which do not follow the Government salary guidelines for senior managers could see their State funding cut.
Mr Gilmore said the Coalition was determined to have its pay policy and salary caps implemented across the public sector and in organisations in receipt of State funding. At the conclusion of the Labour Party conference in Killarney, the Tánaiste said Ministers could reduce the money given to hospitals and health agencies by the same amount as they were providing to senior managers in top-up payments.
“We are determined to see that public service pay policy is implemented. That is why the HSE in the first place asked all of the section 38 agencies to make a report to them on the level of salaries that are being paid.”
Mr Gilmore added: “We have to have transparency in relation to salaries. We do believe that the agencies that are funded by the taxpayer should comply with public pay policy. We are determined to see that through. And yes, one of the options that is open to Government if there is not compliance is to make appropriate reductions in the levels of funding that is provided to them.”
Asked how much of a cut the Government could make to salaries, Mr Gilmore said it could “reduce the amount of money, probably correspondingly”.
Mr Gilmore stopped short of backing Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn’s call for the board of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) to resign, but instead said it must give details of the salaries it pays to the HSE. “I think the board of the CRC have to provide answers. That’s what we have to see in the short term. What the HSE has asked each of the agencies to do is to provide answers and explanations and that’s the first thing we need to see from them.
“I was very surprised to see what appears to be the case in the CRC, as I’m sure many people who contribute to it are also surprised. I think that is one of the agencies that will now have to be looked at.”
Dr Reilly has also stopped short of calling on the board of the CRC to step down. A spokesman for Dr Reilly said yesterday the Minister believed in due process and in time he would receive a full report from HSE. He said the CRC board should provide full disclosure to the HSE about payments to senior managers and all the sources of the money. The Minister expected the CRC to fully co-operate with HSE.
The spokesman said any organisation that did not co-operate with this HSE investigation ran the risk of having their funding affected for 2014. He said this would be carried out in a way that did not affect clients of the organisations concerned but rather on those who were not co-operating.
Earlier in Japan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as “unacceptable in any circumstances” the use of public donations to top up executive pay at the CRC.
“The ordinary person who either pays their direct debit or goes out and collects on flag days or pays their money through whatever method to another facility – they fully expect that money is still going for the children and for the facilities that they use,” he said.