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Howlin puts squeeze on top civil servant pay

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has outlined plans for pay caps on the salaries of senior civil servants and the chiefs of commercial semi-state firms.

The move will apply to future appointments with a general €250,000 cap for semi-state chiefs and €200,000 in the case of civil servants.

Some semi-state chiefs earn well over €250,000 currently while other top level civil servants like secretary generals take home more than the Taoiseach’s €200,000 salary.

But the minister said that all department secretary generals have implied they would accept the new €200,000 cap.

“In light of the ongoing severe economic conditions facing the country there is a need for leadership to be shown by those who hold high office across the public sector," he said.

"The Government supports a strong policy of pay restraint within the public sector, including the application of pay caps."

Mr Howlin added that the Government also wants commercial semi-state bosses to take cuts of 15pc on their salaries or less if their pay is already below the proposed ceiling.

He also said the outgoing chief executive of the ESB (Padraig McManus) is the only boss breaching the new pay limit while the heads of An Post, The Dublin Airport Authority, CIE and RTE are over the €200,000 mark.

“Such exceptions will be limited to instances where the exception is for a role of substantial importance in the public service or a commercial state company and the person whose appointment is sought brings exceptional or scarce expertise and/or qualifications to the proposed role,'” he said.