Cork TD angry with suggestion of €80,000 salary increase for Dept of Health SecGen

13 April 2021
By Tom Collins

Cork North Central Solidarity TD and Oireachtas Finance Committee member Mick Barry this morning said that the public will be “disgusted” if the Government sign off on a €292,000 per annum appointment for Robert Watt as the new Secretary-General at the Department of Health.

Mick Barry TD

With the issue expected to be dealt with in April, Government Ministers are remaining tight-lipped as to whether tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting might sign off on the appointment.

Mr Watt was paid €211,000 per annum in his previous job as Secretary-General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Government want him in a new post now with a pay increase of €81,000 per year.

Deputy Barry said this morning:

“The same Government which took such a hard line on student nurses pay now wants to pay a senior civil servant nearly €300,000 a year. If the Government sign off on this appointment tomorrow there will be opposition and pure disgust from the ordinary members of the public who are doing the heavy lifting for the country in this pandemic.”

The Oireachtas Finance Committee member said that the committee intends to hold hearings on the appointment when the Dáil reconvenes.

The Committee wants to know whose idea it was to pay the new Secretary-General at the Department of Health an extra €80,000 and why the issue originally came before Cabinet without a memo.

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