Special Pay Deals and Special Advisors : government should clean house at home

Color me cynical but the leaking of the pay deals made with senior executives in charitable health organizations seems to me to be an effort to mudsmear and distract from the ongoing disaster that is the management of the Irish Health sector.

In any case, the government has been talking tough on this saying that pay caps across the public sector and related must be adhered to.

In which case, we can expect to see the massive salaries of special advisors being cut can we? Theres a cap of 92k there. Of the 10 Special Advisors who earn more than the cap 5 are for Labour ministers. Thats punching well above their weight in cabinet. And lets not forget the bankers, on whose pay the Minister for Finance professed himself ‘powerless‘ .

I have no idea what these special advisors do. Some I have had minor contact with over the years and they struck me as smart and dedicated people. Do they deserve to be paid more than the heads of some of the most critical aspects of the health sector? Or bankers? If the criteria, as it seems to be, is that if the preponderance of your money comes from the state you adhere to the state pay rule, fair enough. But lets not cut funds to the CRC when we are paying the press advisor for the minister for sport over 100k PA.


  • Mark Kennelly, Chief of Staff €168,000*
  • Andrew McDowell, Special Adviser €168,000*

Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore:

  • Mark Garrett, Chief Adviser €168,000*
  • Colm O’Reardon, Economic Adviser €155,000*

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney:

  • Ross MacMathuna, Special Adviser €110,000*

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton:

  • Edward Brophy, Special Adviser €127,796*

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin:

  • Ronan O’Brien, Special Adviser €114,000*

Minister for Enterprise Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton:

  • Ciaran Conlon, Special Adviser €127,000*

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar:

  • Brian Murphy, Press Adviser €105,837*

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte:

  • Simon Nugent, Special Adviser €97,200*

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