April 12, 2021
Appointment of Watt as Health Secretary General ‘would have all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned stroke’– Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that the appointment of Robert Watt as the permanent Secretary General of the Department of Health with the significantly increased pay package of €282,000 per annum would undermine the public sector salary recruitment process and the political system.  

Teachta Carthy, a member of Dáil’s Public Account Committee, said the refusal of government to heed the PAC calls to stop the recruitment process, pending a full review of the remuneration offered for the post, has reinforced the view that this appointment was been an ‘old-fashioned stroke of the highest order’.

Teachta Carthy said: 

“There has been no justification provided for the additional €81,000 provided in remuneration for this position.  The Public Accounts Committee has called for the recruitment process to be stalled pending a full review of the renumeration package. 

“That the Dáil’s Public Accounts and Finance Committees had agreed a joint framework for reviewing this unprecedented salary hike signalled the public concerns in this process. 

“Reports that the government is set to proceed with the appointment of Robert Watt as the permanent Secretary General, while undoubtedly undermining public sector recruitment processes and the political system, will be of little surprise to many. 

“This process has had all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned stoke of the highest order.  That the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure, who had responsibility for managing public sector pay scales, could move to another department with a substantial salary hike for which there was no process, no rationale and no justification would signal that this government has learned nothing from the lessons of Celtic Tiger extravagance. 

“Even at this stage the government should stop this recruitment process and review the salary on offer before any appointment is made.”

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