Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Questions (462)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

462. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the names of the special advisers employed in his Department; the names of special advisers to junior Ministers in his Department; the annual salary of each adviser; if these persons were special advisers immediately prior to taking up their current role or immediately prior to the June 2017 Cabinet reshuffle; if so, the Minister to which they were appointed to; the date each special adviser was appointed with effect as stated in the Government order; the date of the Government order; if they received a salary for the period before the appointment order was signed in the case of special advisers whose appointment order date has an effect date earlier than the order date; if so, by whom they were paid; if a special adviser during a period later backdated by appointment order had access to confidential material and-or Cabinet papers; if they were subject to the Official Secrets Act 1963 during this period; if any persons currently employed as special advisers have not yet been appointed by order since the Cabinet reshuffle of 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46469/17]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

There are currently two Special Advisors employed by my Department; the Special Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Special Adviser to the Minister of State for European Affairs. The Special Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is Ms. Caitríona Fitzpatrick. She was previously my Special Adviser when I served as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Ms. Fitzpatrick’s appointment as Special Advisor in my current Department was backdated with effect from 15 June 2017 as noted in the Government Order dated 17 October 2017. Sanction for Ms. Fitzpatrick’s appointment in advance of the Government Order was provided by An Taoiseach. Ms. Fitzpatrick is on the Principal Officer salary scale.

Ms. Fitzpatrick did have access to confidential material and or cabinet papers before the Government Order confirming her appointment but was subject to the Official Secrets Act during this period.

The Special Adviser to the Minister of State for European Affairs is Mr. Paul Fox. Mr. Fox was not a Special Adviser before taking up this role.

Sanction for Mr. Fox’s appointment in advance of a Government Order was provided by An Taoiseach as confirmed in a letter from his private secretary dated 31 August 2017. Mr. Fox was appointed Special Advisor with effect from 4 September 2017. Mr. Fox is on the Assistant Principal Officer salary scale.

Mr. Fox does have access to confidential material while awaiting the Government Order for his appointment but is subject to the Official Secrets Act during this period.