January 26, 2022
Department of Health’s Secretary General salary debacle caused by a government backroom deal – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has said that confirmation that the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, is in receipt of his full salary package worth €294,920 annually stands in stark contrast to the failure of government to address the needs of ordinary workers and families.

Deputy Carthy said that confirmation is required as to when Mr Watt ceased to waive the salary increase of over €81,000; an increase agreed in a government backroom deal without process or rationale.

He also said that government needs to outline how they will address future claims from other Secretaries General who demand similar packages.

Teachta Carthy, a member of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, said:

“It remains amazing that the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party could agree to a pay hike of over €81,000 for a Secretary General but can do nothing for those workers and families who are crippled by high costs of rents, childcare, energy, fuel and insurance. The debacle surrounding Mr Watt’s pay was caused by that backroom deal.

“This pay package was agreed without any process, rationale or justification. On his appointment in late April, Mr Watt stated that he was waiving the salary increase for an unspecified period of time.  

“In his response to my question on the matter at the Public Accounts Committee in December, it was clear that he was no longer doing so. Clearly, the question that now arises is when he ceased to waive that salary, and it is a question that I will be pursuing.

“Government must immediately clarify how they intend to address future pay increase claims by other Secretaries General. It is virtually inevitable that they will be forthcoming. Do government leaders intend again to simply approve massive pay hikes without justification?

“This scandalous saga is just the most recent example of the double standards employed by government. 

“That they could increase, without a second thought, the salary of the Secretary General of the Department of Health by over €81,000, which is more than most healthcare workers receive in totality, while they remain blind to the struggles of so many workers and families exemplifies the reason why so many people are demanding change.”

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