Belfast Telegraph

Adviser's pay rise 'totally wrong'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of promoting inequality among citizens after sanctioning a 35,000 euro pay rise for a Fine Gael special adviser.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said Mr Kenny was wrong to support the pay increase of communications director Ciaran Conlon, while imposing austerity cuts that target the vulnerable.

"You're going to impose a 100 euro housing charge, going to cut payments to lone parents," said Mr Adams.

"These are choices you make and it's not fair, it's wrong and you know it's wrong. To give one citizen 35,000 euro extra and then to take money from those who are most vulnerable is totally wrong."

Mr Adams claimed the difference was particularly shocking given the auspicious date - the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty which laid the foundations for the Free State.

But the Taoiseach defended Mr Conlon's pay increase, which has exceeded the 92,000 euro cap, and risen to 127,000 euro.

Mr Kenny overruled Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, who pointed out the salary should not exceed the cap.

"One of my responsibilities is to sanction two advisers," said Mr Kenny. "It was because of his particular expertise, because of his ability, he was chosen as adviser for the Minister for Jobs. And I sanctioned that."

The Taoiseach said Mr Adams was in no position to lecture him on fairness and accused him of hypocrisy given the high staff pay of Sinn Fein members in Northern Ireland.

"The next time you stand up, you need to be fair," said Mr Kenny. "In the two-year period at the end of this March, Sinn Fein MPs claimed £969,358 in staff payments and you, sir, claimed £106,880 for those staff in a parliament in which you never attended."


From Belfast Telegraph