Minister McGrath fails to bring Watt salary saga any closer to closure - Mairéad Farrell TD
Speaking at a meeting of the Finance Committee today, in response to Mairéad Farrell TD, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Minister McGrath alarmingly admitted that he did not know when the Secretary General of Department of Health Robert Watt accepted his salary increase of €81k. As of yesterday, Mr Watt’s salary was €298k a year, making him one of the highest paid Civil Servants in the history of the state.
Teachta Farrell said:
“I was alarmed to hear that the Minister found out through media reports that Mr Watt had accepted the salary increase of €81k. He had not sought this information himself. The media has done a better job of pursing transparency with regard to public spending, than our own minister for public expenditure.
“We see that Mr Watt’s salary is now €298k and for the Minister not to try resolve this matter as a matter of priority shows how out of touch he is. At a time when inflation is at 5%, housing costs are out of control, and people cant afford to heat their homes or put food on his table.
“We have no clarity if this salary increase was waived for a day or for a year. After the public outrage and a very critical report by the finance committee, it seems they have learned absolutely nothing. It is clear the culture of unaccountability, and wanton disregard for transparency, is still alive and well.
“It shows this government for what they are; alarmingly unaccountable, frighteningly out of touch and with a worrying disregard for transparency.
“It’s clear that Mr Watt now needs to come before the Committee. He has previously refused to come before the Finance Committee. But he now urgently needs to do so.”