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No action on Quinn's €47k advisor in 'no work' tweet

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Ruairi Quinn. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ruairi Quinn. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ruairi Quinn. Photo: Damien Eagers

A €47,000-a-year special advisor to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn will not face any penalty after posting on his Twitter account that he had no work to do.

One of Quinn's political advisors, Neil Ward, will hold on to his job despite a controversial tweet he sent on December 6.

It showed a screen-grab of his internal department account inbox with had no messages in it.

He wrote: "Perhaps the best feeling in the world #nothingtodo #Friday."

Staff at the department are reportedly "livid" with his actions, claiming it gives "a false portrayal of the workload for everybody else".

A source said Mr Ward was a personal appointment made by the Minister, but his actions have annoyed staff.

"At a time when everyone is taking a hit this is disgraceful," they added.

The controversy comes as Minister Quinn announced new powers to tackle underperforming teachers.

Until now a teacher had to be deemed "unfit to teach" before the Teaching Council could impose sanctions such as removing a member of staff from the teaching register.

But the Education Minister intends to revise existing guidelines to give the council a menu of options to deal with teachers who are underperforming.

However, the department has now moved to distance itself from the controversial post, saying Mr Ward's "comments do not reflect those of the department".

Mr Ward was appointed as a personal secretary to the Education Minister in April 2011.

Last September, he was promoted to the position of personal assistant and is on a salary of approximately €47,300.

 

SALARY

 

A DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN CONFIRMED TO THE HERALD THAT MR WARD'S SALARY IS PAID BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

She also confirmed that no sanctions will be taken against him as no official complaint was made about the tweet.

"We have checked within the Department, and the IT unit, and there's no record of any complaint made about his Twitter account," she said.

"Neil Ward tweets in his personal capacity."

hnews@herald.ie


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