Deputy Steven Matthews has said his wife Cllr Erika Doyle is 'more than qualified' to be his secretarial assistant.
Cllr Doyle replaced her husband as a member of Wicklow County Council following his election to the Dáil in the general election. The Green Party's Deputy Matthews is one of 23 TDs to hire family members as either a secretarial assistant or parliamentary assistant.
Deputy Matthews said in a statement that Cllr Doyle is 'more than qualified' and 'the best person for the job'.
The salary scale for an SA is between €24,000 and just under €47,000. Councillors are paid €17,000 per year.
TDs are entitled to employ PAs and SAs and it is not against Oireachtas rules to appoint family members.
'Erika has guided my political career for 10 years,' said Mr Matthews. This includes managing four election campaigns and working 'tirelessly' in a 'voluntary unpaid capacity'. Mr Matthews said she took unpaid leave from her previous job, and worked on the strategy that saw him elected as the first Green Party TD in Wicklow. Cllr Doyle was previously a journalist for the Wicklow Times.
'Erika has worked around local news and politics for years, and understands the constituency of Wicklow better than almost anybody,' he said. 'She is more than qualified for the job and she is the best person for the job.'
He said she received other job offers in the political arena 'and I'm delighted she chose to accept mine'.
Cllr Doyle was co-opted onto Wicklow County Council following the election to replace her husband as he was elected to the Dáil. She said at that time that she was selected transparently and was nominated by the local Green Party organisation to take the seat.
She said in February that she would not be working as her husband's PA in Leinster House. Records released by the Oireachtas show that she is working as Mr Matthews' SA.