Ministerial staff earn €700,000 in overtime in two years

Two staff employed by Simon Coveney earned €43,000 overtime since Coalition formed

 Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food	Simon Coveney said his department had experienced an extremely busy period as a result of the horse meat crisis, talks on the Common Agricultural Policy and the recent fodder shortage. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney said his department had experienced an extremely busy period as a result of the horse meat crisis, talks on the Common Agricultural Policy and the recent fodder shortage. Photograph: Eric Luke

 



More than €700,000 has been paid out in overtime to ministerial staff such as personal assistants and secretaries since the Coalition was formed in March 2011, new figures reveal

Two staff employed by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney earned overtime payments of more than €43,000 between them since the Government came to power just over two years ago, the figures provided in response to parliamentary questions show.

Mr Coveney’s press and political adviser received overtime payments of €26,109.81 in that period, while his personal secretary received €17,489.36.

Overtime payments to staff employed by the late minister of state for agriculture Shane McEntee amounted to €15,566 between March 2011 and last December.

Two personal assistants to Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore received €18,027 and €17,271 in overtime.

At the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock’s personal assistant (€16,714.55) and secretary (€16,997.93) earned more than €33,700 combined in overtime. Minister of State for Small Business John Perry’s personal assistant (€16,061.73) and secretary (€12,886.82) earned just under €29,000 in overtime.

The figures show that four personal secretaries employed at the Department of the Taoiseach have received overtime payments of €20,665.83, €19,967.41, €9,917.99 and €7,783.82 respectively since the beginning of 2011.

Department of Public Expenditure guidelines set the salary scale for personal secretaries at between €456.60 and €915.20 per week, while personal assistants can earn between €43,715 and €56,060 annually.

A personal assistant to Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has received €22,225 in overtime payments since March 2011.

An unspecified staff member employed by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has earned €19,859 in overtime.

Two staff
The personal assistant and secretary to Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan received €15,907 and €15,226 respectively, while two staff employed at the same department by Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Affairs Dinny McGinley earned a combined €24,957.

At the Department of Health, the secretary and assistant to former minister of state Róisín Shortall received overtime payments totalling just under €24,000 between March 2011 and the time of her resignation last September.

Minister for Health James Reilly’s personal assistant received overtime payments of €14,148.67, and his two personal secretaries received €4,581.15 and €1,914.98 respectively.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan’s personal assistant, who also acted as a press adviser, was recorded as earning €15,026.70 in overtime, while two staff employed by Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan earned a combined €21,267 in overtime.

The figures were provided in response to parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness – who this week defended overtime payments of more than €87,000 to his personal assistant and secretary during his time as a minister of state at the Department of Enterprise between 2007 and 2009.

Mr McGuinness sought the individual amount of overtime paid in the case of each political or ministerial appointee from 2007 to present.

Ministerial staff
Overtime payments to ministerial staff during the Fianna Fáil-Green coalition amounted to more than €900,000.

Mr Coveney told The Irish Times his department had experienced an extremely busy period as a result of the horse meat crisis, talks on the Common Agricultural Policy and the recent fodder shortage. He said rules were tight regarding overtime and his staff had provided important assistance.