Govt urged to reduce ministerial posts to cut payroll costs


Fine Gael says the Government should apply a 3 per cent payroll cut to its own ranks by dropping two junior minister posts.

Front bench spokesman Simon Coveney says the move would achieve a similar cut in costs to that which is being imposed across the public sector.

The Government increased the number of ministers of state from 17 to 20 following last year’s general election

The Department of Education now has five Ministers of State and one Minister, while the Department of Health has four Ministers of State and one Minister.

Mr Coveney said: "The Taoiseach created three extra junior ministries, largely as a sop to ambitious backbenchers in order to quell internal unrest in a stale Government that has been in office for too long.”

“This cynical move cost the taxpayer €156,000 in increased salaries, and that is before you take into account the vast other extra costs such as staff, office space and drivers,” he said

"Do we really need two Junior Ministers within the Department of the Environment, each being paid €150,000 a year, one to take some kind of sub-responsibility for housing and another for local services?,” Mr Coveney said.

The Government announced an across the board 3 per cent cut in the public service wages earlier this month as part of a package of measures deal with the current economic downturn.