Tuesday 20 February 2018

Top-up payments 'grossly unfair' for frontline staff, Minister says

James Reilly has promised to sort out the issue of top-up payments for executives
James Reilly has promised to sort out the issue of top-up payments for executives
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Health Minister James Reilly has pledged that he will "sort out" the issue of unsanctioned payments for top health executives.

Mr Reilly told RTE Radio’s News at One today that it is critical for the morale of frontline staff that the matter is dealt with.

He said today: “We are bringing transparency to the system and that transparency is now accountability, and that will result in a much fairer system.”

“It is not fair at a time when we face one of the most difficult service plans in many a long time - and frontline staff are working so hard and are fully compliant - that others are not and we’re not going to tolerate that,” he said.

“We’re very clear in our government pay policy.”

The Minister said he met with the HSE’s director general Tony O’Brien yesterday, who gave him a comprehensive update on the issue, and told the Minister that there is  team of 17 “top people” working on the issue.

“It is critically important to the morale of the service that there isn’t one rule for one group of people and a different rule for everybody else,” the Minister said.

“I am going to fix this problem. It will be sorted. It won’t be sorted at the drop of a hat.”

He said the issue of unsanctioned top-up payments is “grossly unfair” to frontline staff.

“We’re very clear on our government pay policy.”

In relation to unsanctioned top-up payments, he said: “We await a further discussion with each one of these institutions as to why they’re not compliant.”

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