Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (72)

Thomas Pringle


72. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the process for approval of the new salary for the Secretary General of the Department of Health which is said to be deemed to be commensurate with the scale of the responsibilities, including the vaccine roll-out in the immediate term and the challenges of implementing the Government’s ambition for the roll-out of Sláintecare and the budget of €21 billion for health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20148/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have statutory responsibility for the terms and conditions of service, including remuneration, of civil servants, as set out in the Civil Service Regulation Acts.

In meeting these responsibilities as regards the terms to apply for recruitment to the post of Secretary General in the Department of Health, I engaged with the Taoiseach, the Minister for Health and the Secretary General to the Government.

In that context, I took account of a number of factors, including that the post is a highly complex one with a very challenging brief, particularly so in the midst of a global pandemic. There are very significant responsibilities attached to this role including: the ongoing management of the response to the COVID public health emergency; implementing the Government’s ambition for the rollout of Sláintecare; and the management of the greatly increased budget of €22 billion for Health in 2021.

Reflecting these, I considered that a salary of €292,000 is commensurate with the scale of the responsibilities and the unique challenges attached to this role, not least at the current time.

On 30th December, I approved the final terms for the advertisement of the post. On 6th January, Cabinet was informed that the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) process for the position was about to commence and that, for the reasons outlined above, it would attract improved terms and conditions reflecting the responsibilities of the post.

As the deputy may be aware, I have previously provided information relating to my responsibilities regarding this matter in the context of my statement and appearance before the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on 2nd February last.

Documents related to the matter have also been published by my Department, and are available on the Department’s webpage.