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Department of Health’s interim General Secretary should take a pay cut if he’s made permanent in the role, according to a Carlow Kilkenny FF TD

John McGuinness is Chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee

The Chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee says the interim General Secretary of the Department of Health should take a pay cut if he secures the position on a permanent basis.

The €292,000 salary being advertised for the role is €81,000 than Robert Watt’s existing salary.

The controversy was addressed at an Oireachtas Committee hearing today.

The Public Expenditure Minister’s acknowledged the risk of pay demands from senior civil servants following the increased salary advertised for the new secretary-general of the Department of Health.

Minister Michael McGrath’s playing down the risk of copy cat pay claims but says the high salary is necessary to attract the best candidate.

While Carlow Kilkenny FF Deputy John Mc Guinness says if he is chosen to fill the position permanently, he should stay on his existing pay, noting “I would suggest that if he ends up in the position where he’s accepting that job it should be at the rate of €211,000 which is what is available today and I think that’s a fairly sizable sum of money when you compare it as other members did today with the fact that nurses are on the frontline, because Covid was an argument, but he’s not the only one on the frontline”.