Thursday 30 October 2014

Dail chief's son who earned €30k overtime had no department desk

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 15/05/2013 | 05:00

Andrew McGuinness: did not return calls last night
Andrew McGuinness: did not return calls last night

THE son of the chairman of the Dail spending watchdog chalked up €30,000 in overtime in one year from a government job given to him by his father – even though he didn't have a desk in the department.

Andrew McGuinness was hired as a ministerial personal secretary when his father, John McGuinness, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, was junior minister in the Department of Enterprise between 2007 and 2009.

However, it is understood Andrew McGuinness focused on constituency work during that period.

Andrew McGuinness did not return calls last night, querying where he was based during his time as personal secretary to his father. But John McGuinness said he would not dispute the figures, and claimed they could apply to any other TD, minister, or civil servant.

John McGuinness told KCLR radio: "He (Andrew), as an employee of the department, had to satisfy all of the regulations." However, €48,000 for almost two years' overtime could raise eyebrows. Andrew McGuinness also claimed €13,334 worth of mileage.

And the now renamed Department of Jobs said: "We understand that Andrew McGuinness was based in Kilkenny and did not have a desk in the department.

"If there was a requirement for him to attend to business in Dublin, he was not accommodated by this department but may have used an office in Leinster House."

But a Dail spokeswoman said "ministerial staff would usually be looked after in the ministerial department".

The Irish Independent yesterday revealed that Andrew McGuinness earned €30,000 in one year's overtime in the job, on top of basic salary of €42,000.

Fine Gael is now calling for John McGuinness to say if he personally approved the salary and expenses levels for his son.

Andrew McGuinness was placed on the ninth level of a salary range with 12 levels, ranging from around €30,000 to almost €48,000.

A Department of Jobs spokesman said: "With the sanction of the Department of Finance, Andrew McGuinness was placed on the ninth point of the relevant payscale on his appointment in 2007.

"In accordance with Department of Finance circulars, he would have become eligible for an increment on the anniversary of his appointment."

Mandarins

Dublin North TD Alan Farrell asked if John McGuinness signed off on the €71,353 in overtime, mileage and subsistence claimed by his son for the two years they were in the Department of Jobs.

"I would also like to know how Andrew McGuinness worked enough hours to earn €30,000 in overtime payments in one year on his salary of €42,000. He has been given the opportunity to account for this and has failed to do so."

The department said the minister of the day does not sign off on overtime and expenses for his staff.

John McGuinness said the overtime "depends on the hours that he worked, it depends on the rate of pay".

"Anyone that has worked for me will know I work 24/7 and I expect others to do the same," he added. But he said it "has nothing to do" with his current position as PAC chairman and said the details were an attempt to discredit him and knock him off his work on banking and other investigations.

"I am not at all embarrassed by this story," he added. "This is a story brought about by some meddling mandarins and some political mischief which is the make-up of politics generally."

Irish Independent

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