Friday 26 December 2014

Son of Dail spending chief earned €30k in overtime with dad

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Published 14/05/2013 | 05:00

Andrew McGuinness claimed €30,800 in overtime payments in 2008.
Andrew McGuinness celebrates his election to Kilkenny Borough Council with (from left) his mother Margaret, father John and brother John

THE son of the chairman of the powerful Dail spending watchdog claimed over €30,000 in overtime from the taxpayer in a single year while working at a job given to him by his father.

Andrew McGuinness worked as his father's personal secretary in the Department of Enterprise when John McGuinness was a junior minister in the department.

He was on a basic salary of €42,000 but the Irish Independent has learned Andrew McGuinness claimed €30,800 in overtime payments in one year – 2008.

In total, he claimed €48,273 in overtime during his almost two years, between 2007 and 2009, in the department, and a total of €71,353 in overtime, mileage and subsistence.

No details of the amount of work carried out for the overtime money was provided in a response to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

When contacted last night, and asked about the overtime payments, Andrew McGuinness said he would check the amounts out, but he did not return the call.

He was one of a number of ministerial appointees made when his father John McGuinness took office. He also worked for his father as a Dail secretarial assistant once his father left ministerial office.

John McGuinness was appointed a junior minister in the then Department of Enterprise by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2007.

He lost his position when Brian Cowen reduced the number of junior ministers in April 2009.

Andrew McGuinness is also a Fianna Fail councillor in his native Kilkenny, topping the poll in the city ward in 2009.

He received €30,579 in salary and expenses payments from the council in 2011, the latest year for which compiled figures are available.

The Irish Independent previously revealed how the taxpayer spent €250,000 kitting out John McGuinness's new ministerial office in the Department of Enterprise in 2007.

John McGuinness has insisted he had no hand in the cost or specifications or the office. Internal documents also show he was only allowed to use luxury toilet rolls in the bathroom, such as "Kittensoft, Inversoft and Andrex".

It was advised that "lower-grade tissues (the old Oifig an tSolathair variety comes to mind) should be avoided" because of the toilet system installed in the office.

Revelations

Following the revelations, John McGuinness opened a PAC investigation into all spending on ministerial offices, and the hearings are to begin to start next week.

John McGuinness has claimed the recent details are part of attempts to "discredit me, undermine my position as chairman of the PAC and damage the PAC's efforts to investigate".

"The department is currently in the process of compiling this information for supply to the committee," a spokeswoman said.

"Accordingly, it is not deemed appropriate at this stage for the department to provide information in advance of responding to the PAC's request. We understand that this issue will be examined by the PAC on May 23 next," she added.

Irish Independent

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