Saturday 18 January 2020

McGuinness reveals son got most in aide overtime pay

John McGuinness
John McGuinness

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE chairman of the Dail public spending watchdog has had to embarrassingly reveal his son claimed the most overtime out of any hand-picked ministerial aide in the last six years.

Andrew McGuinness worked as a personal secretary for John McGuinness, the current Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, when his father was a junior minister.

The Irish Independent this week revealed that Andrew McGuinness was paid €30,000 in overtime in one year alone, on top of a salary of €42,000.

He was paid a total of €48,000 in overtime alone during his two years in the Department of Enterprise, as well as other expenses such as €13,334 in mileage.

He did not have an office in the department, and is understood to have focused on constituency work.

John McGuinness himself claimed these figures would "correspond with those that have been paid to people who work for TDs, people who work for ministers".

He tabled Dail questions to each government department querying the overtime given to every person personally hired by ministers or junior ministers since 2007.

Each question asked about "the individual amount of overtime paid in the case of each political/ministerial appointee".

"I have asked the parliamentary question in relation to what has been paid to other ministers . . . and a question in relation to what has been paid in overtime to those who serve ministers," Mr McGuinness said earlier this week.

However, the responses to the second question showed that Andrew McGuinness was far and away the highest overtime claimant.

Another of Mr McGuinness's staff at that time, personal assistant Ann Bergin, was paid €29,754 in two years, with €20,679 in 2008. In total, his staff was paid €87,816 in overtime in the period.

Some ministerial staff – such as those working for Eamon O Cuiv when he was Minister for Social Protection – were paid no overtime whatsoever.

The figures cover all senior and junior ministers during the previous Fianna Fail-Green coalition and the Fine Gael-Labour Government.

On average, each minister had around two staff working for them who were eligible for overtime payments.

Entitled

Other high individual claims included former junior foreign affairs minister Peter Power's personal assistant, who was paid €18,834 in overtime in 2009.

Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had two staff entitled to overtime during his three-year tenure between May 2008 and March 2011, and in that period they each got €35,020 and €40,773.

Micheal Martin's personal assistant received €10,230 in overtime when he was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment between January 2007 and May 2008.

And Environment Minister Phil Hogan's personal assistant received €9,189 in overtime over a two-year period.

Earlier this week, Mr McGuinness also said he had no quibbles with the overtime figures for his son.

"There was a reason for the overtime and it's not something I did for him. He, as an employee of the department, had to satisfy all of the regulations," he told KCLR radio.

Irish Independent

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