New storm as Bruton spin doctor's topped-up pay smashes cap at €98k

Niall O'Connor

A SECOND spin doctor for Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is on course to surpass the Government's pay cap.

The adviser is enjoying salary top-ups of over €3,000 every year, the Herald can reveal.

Mr Bruton is using taxpayers' money to increase the salary of his press adviser and former assistant Conor Quinn.

The minister was previously embroiled in controversy when it emerged that his adviser Ciaran Conlon was on a salary of €127,000.

The Herald has now learned that Mr Quinn received a salary top-up of €3,286 last month -- and he is likely to continue to do so for the next six years. This means that the adviser will see his pay increase from €80,051 to €98,424 by 2017.


Mr Bruton today denied that he was smashing the Government's pay cap of €92,600.

A spokesperson for the minister defended the top-ups, claiming that they are completely in line with government rules.

However, the spokesperson conceded that Mr Quinn is due two "long service increments" that will net him €98,424 by 2017.

The spokesperson added: "As outlined in the Government's Guidelines for Ministerial Appointments published last spring, these increments cannot be paid... until he/she has served satisfactorily for seven and ten years as a special adviser."

The Herald revealed last month that the increments caused considerable unrest at a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting -- with one TD even walking out over the issue.

Coalition sources have admitted that there is "considerable unrest" over the increments, with pressure mounting on Enda Kenny to abolish them.

"Ministers are able to pay these top ups without breaking the rules but at the end of the day the advisers are earning beyond the pay scales," a source told the Herald.

Mr Quinn served as Mr Bruton's parliamentary assistant before the Dublin TD was appointed Jobs Minister.

In January it emerged that Ciaran Conlon was awarded a 37pc pay hike, bringing his salary to €127,000.

Mr Conlon, a close friend of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, wrote to government officials to argue himself for the shocking pay rise.

The pay increase was secured just weeks after Mr Kenny was elected on the promise of ending the 'jobs for the boys' era.