Howlin and Reilly culpable on salary top-ups – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as “disgraceful” the revelation that Health Minister James Reilly and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin approved a special salary deal of nearly€200,000 per annum for a top HSE executive based on the salary top-up he received while he was CEO of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Ministers Reilly and Howlin have claimed that they want these top-ups stopped but now we see that they approved a grossly excessive salary for the man appointed to be HSE boss of hospitals in the West. These Ministers guaranteed him a salary of€195,000 based on his salary and top-up as CEO of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
“It is gross hypocrisy on the part of these Ministers and this Government. They have knowingly cultivated the culture of privilege at the top level of the HSE. There are now 129 senior HSE executives on salaries of over €100,000 per annum - that is up from the start of 2012 when I was given the figure of 110 in reply to a Dáil Question.
“Quite incredibly, Minister Howlin refers to this inflated, top-up-based salary deal as being ‘on a personal-to-holder basis, and based on the circumstances of the particular appointment’. Minister Howlin has reduced the pay of nurses while Minister Reilly introduced a yellow pack, low-pay scheme for nurses as a further measure to drive down pay. Special ‘personal-to-holder’ deals are only possible when you are at the very top and have the ears of Cabinet Ministers.
“This vindicates Sinn Féin’s consistent call for a total rebalancing of pay in the health service and it should be undertaken without further delay, as part of real reform of our struggling health system. Services for patients and decent pay and conditions for front-line workers must always come first; special privileges and excessive salaries for those at the top must be eliminated.”