Coalition launches recruitment drive for a fresh team of well-paid advisers
THE new coalition Government is currently in the process of recruiting a new team of special advisers -- with the line-up expected to be announced next week.
The positions, which currently carry salaries ranging from €70,000 to €180,000, were much criticised by both Fine Gael and Labour while in opposition.
Current government press secretary Eoghan O Neachtain, who served under former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, has been asked by the new Government to remain in his post for a short transition period, which could last for up to three months, until Fine Gael's press officer Feargal Purcell takes over the position.
If Fine Gael and Labour keep the same arrangements as the previous Government, there will be two special advisers for every cabinet minister and one for each junior minister.
The total could rise to 50 if Taoiseach Enda Kenny decides to employ six special advisers like his predecessor Brian Cowen did. Sources in both Fine Gael and Labour last night said ministers were still reading their briefs and insisted there had been no collective decision yet on the number of special advisers to be hired.