Newly-appointed Junior Ministers will not get special advisers
Some Ministers of State say they were promised advisers, and do not believe pooled system works
Michael McGrath: he previously said the appointment of government special advisers was “money well spent”
Cabinet Ministers have agreed that newly-appointed Junior Ministers will not be given their own special advisers despite internal resistance from some Ministers of State.
Sources say a memo on the number of advisers to be assigned to Ministers of State went to Cabinet on Tuesday evening, and was agreed by Cabinet. It states that the system which applied to the previous government, involving pooled advisers, will remain in place.
Some Ministers of State have said privately that they were promised their own special advisers, and that they do not believe a pooled system will work.
A Cabinet source said the move was passed by Cabinet without any dissent, but added that Junior Ministers in the three governing parties are likely to feel aggrieved by what they see as a U-turn.
The pay for special advisers is between €87,325 and € 101,114 for those who work with senior and “super-junior” Ministers who attend Cabinet, and between €67,659 and €78,816 for advisers to Ministers of State.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath previously said the appointment of government special advisers was “money well spent”.
He said “you need as much help as you can get”, adding that “provided the right people with the right experience and qualifications, people of the right calibre, are appointed”, it is “money well spent, and we do get a result on that investment”.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also told the Dáil last month that the three coalition leaders would have up to 17 advisers.
He said advisers were there to ensure “cohesion, genuine partnership and parity of esteem”. He added: “It’s not about one party lording it over.”
Labour leader Alan Kelly previously said Junior Ministers should not have special advisers. “A sum of €80,000 multiplied by 20 is not a good use of taxpayers’ money.”