Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
264. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the name, title and number of special advisers in her Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47499/09]
265. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47514/09]
266. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47529/09]
267. Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47544/09]
Since my appointment as Minister for Social and Family Affairs on 7th May 2008, I have appointed, on a contract basis for my term of office, one Special Advisor, Ms. Averil Power, whose current annual salary is €100,191. This salary will be reduced as a result of the reduction in public service pay rates as announced in last week’s Budget. The Special Adviser is on call on a seven day per week basis and is not entitled to overtime. She is a member of the superannuation scheme for non-established civil servants and is paying the pension levy.
The Deputy may be interested to know that there were more than twice as many Ministerial staff in this Department in 1996. At that time, there were 17 staff in the Minister De Rossa’s office, 3 of whom were non-civil servants. Minister De Rossa also had a policy unit with 6 staff, 5 of whom were non-civil servants. No such unit has been put in place by any Minister since 1997. The Department also had a Minister of State in 1996, Bernard Durkan TD, who had 13 staff. The total staffing, therefore, was 36 in 1996, compared with 13 now. The total number of non-civil servants was 12 at that time, compared with 3 at present.
The roles and functions carried out by the Special Advisor are as set out in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 i.e. to assist the Minister by providing advice, by monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of Government objectives that relate to my Department and by performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister. I am satisfied that the Special Advisor contributes to the effectiveness of the system in a manner and to an extent that fully justifies the associated costs.
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