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Sunday 21 September 2014

'Expert' health staff re-hired on contracts worth up to €61k

Published 05/07/2014 | 02:30

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Health Minister James Reilly
Health Minister James Reilly

Five former Department of Health staff were re-hired on contracts worth up to €61,000 because of their special expertise on issues during Ireland's Presidency of the EU last year.

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Health Minister James Reilly said they included one part-time special adviser, Maureen Windle, on a salary of €61,784 from February 2012 to August 2013. An assistant principal officer was brought back on €43,376 from October 2012 to July 2013.

Two part-time assistant principal officers came back on €30,983 and a principal officer, also working reduced hours, was re-hired at €40,025 between July 2012-2013.

In a parliamentary reply, the minister said these officers had experience and expertise that was essential to a successful Presidency for Ireland in the important area of health policy.

"The fixed-term contracts of employment in each of these cases terminated as soon as our presidency tasks were discharged.

Adviser

"In addition, an ex-chief executive officer of the Northern Area Health Board was employed as my special adviser on a two-thirds basis. The pensions of all these staff were subject to pension abatement rules," he stated.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said yesterday that the staff concerned were re-employed following approval by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the granting of an Excluding Order by the Commission for Public Service Appointments.

"The staff were assigned to the Health Promotion Policy Unit and the Drugs Policy Unit of the department as they had the expertise required to assist in fulfilling the additional responsibilities arising in the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU.

"They were employed in the grades they had been in when they retired and were re-engaged on a part-time basis," she stated.

The experience included head of the Department's Health Promotion Unit for seven years, head of Department's Public Health Unit for four years and a lead role in the department's involvement during Ireland's last Presidency of the EU in 2004.

Irish Independent

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