Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee Matt Carthy TD has said that the recruitment process for the new Secretary General of the Department of Health must stop; pending a full review of the remuneration provided for the post.
Teachta Carthy has said that this position was adopted by the membership of the PAC at its meeting yesterday.
Teachta Carthy said:
“At our meeting yesterday, members of the Public Accounts Committee considered correspondence we had received from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform relating to the proposed salary increase of €82,000 for the new Secretary General of the Department of Health.
“It is clear from the documentation received that the salary hike was arbitrary, had no analytical basis and there was no rationale or process to explain such a monumental increase. No evidence has been presented that would suggest that the current salary for the post was insufficient to attract suitable and capable candidates.
“As the committee with responsibility for overseeing public expenditure, the members of the PAC agreed with my assertion that this recruitment process could lead to a significant unjustified outlay by the State, both in terms of the appointment of the new Secretary General and the future pay-claims that will undoubtedly follow.
“Therefore, members of the Public Accounts Committee agreed that we would write to the Department requesting that the recruitment process be stopped; pending a full review of the remuneration on offer for the post.
“I am aware that there has been a suggestion that such action would go beyond the remit of the committee. I dispute that. Any committee comprising elected representatives is entitled to send its opinion to a government Department. In fact, I contend that the Public Accounts Committee has an obligation to inform a government Department if we are of the view that a process will lead to an unjustified expenditure on the part of taxpayers.
“I will be urging that the agreed letter from PAC is delivered to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and I will be calling on the government to heed our concerns and act accordingly”.