Spike in number of top earners in the HSE
The number of high-paid managers in the hard-pressed health service has dramatically increased since 2012.
National directors working in the HSE can earn an annual salary of €147,000. Their number is believed to have increased from 11 to 15.
Overall, those broadly within the senior management grade has gone up from 659 to 838.
Meanwhile, the number of assistant national directors -who earn between €89,000 and €110,000 - has shot up from 52 to 82 over a three-year period.
The number of general managers increased from 165 to 232 - on average, they are paid between €65,000 and €79,000.However, some can have an annual salary of up to €136,000.
The number of Grade VIII employees - earning between €65,00 and €75,000 - increased from from 431 to 510.
A HSE spokesman pointed out that evolving management structures have to be resourced. Relevant management personnel had to be recruited - and the same approach applied to frontline staff.
In a statement, the HSE said, "reforming management structures have contributed to the increase in the number of senior management positions during the period in question".
It also pointed out that in the period from 2009 to 2013, any staff member who assumed higher duties and responsibilities did so without any increased remuneration. It said a "regularisation programme" meant that staff were, as a result, "appropriately remunerated".
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke says he has already expressed concern that a recruitment embargo may be used as a mechanism "to avoid an interview process".
Fianna Fáil spokesman on health, Billy Kelleher, expressed concern over certain HSE recruitment and remuneration levels.
"At a time of severe shortages in our frontline health staff, it is unacceptable that precious funding is being diverted to hiring and promoting more highly paid managers," he said.