Millions for ‘spin doctors’ while government telling nurses ‘it cannot pay them’

Outrageous,’ says TD.

Sligo News File.

The phenomenal level of government spending on ministerial special advisers was highlighted in the Dail last week.

Mattie McGrath TD

Deputy Mattie McGrath said the government had spent €6.5 million of taxpayers money on the employment of special advisers in the last two years alone.

Ministers, he said were employing “special advisers and media advisers, in other words spin doctors,” while at the same time the government was telling nurses it “cannot
pay them.”

“€6.5 million. It is an outrageous sum of money,” he said.

It’s understood that about 10 journalists have been appointed as press advisers since the general election.

In calling for a review of the process, McGrath said there was a need for a policy under which ministers couldn’t appoint advisors “willy-nilly whenever they like. Their friends in the press, bring them in and cosy up to them.”

However, proceedings went a bit off the rails for a time when the Mayo Minister for rural affairs Michael Ring demanded the Tipperary Independent: “Give back the €40,000”, a reference to the annual allowance Independents receive for their work. “Give it back. Sit down.”

“You’re like my dog at home, always scratching,” added Ring.

The outburst caused a bit of a chuckle in the chamber. However, no-one on the government side still explained for the benefit of taxpayers footing the bill how the budget for ministerial special advisers, as McGrath claimed, has rocketed to multiple millions of euros in the space of 24 months.

Another example of yet another government overrun?