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Cabinet appoints 20 new special advisers as tighter coronavirus restrictions introduced


Eamon Ryan, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin

Eamon Ryan, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin

Eamon Ryan, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin

A raft of special advisers for the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Green Party leader were officially agreed by Cabinet at the same meeting in which the Government signed off on new Covid-19 restrictions.

The Cabinet officially appointed 16 political advisers for Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan at a meeting in Dublin Castle.

The Taoiseach and his ministers also agreed to appoint advisers for Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and two ministers of State.

Most of those who were officially appointed at the meeting have been working for the Government since it was formed during the summer.

The appointments were agreed at the final Cabinet meeting before Christmas as ministers decided to introduce a range of new social distancing restrictions as the number of Covid-19 cases skyrocketed.

The majority of the appointments were brought to Cabinet by the Department of the Taoiseach.

They included the Taoiseach’s Chief of Staff Deirdre Gillane, Mr Martin’s Deputy Chief of Staff Pat McParland along with political advisers Alan Ahearne, Lisa Dee Collery and Grainne Weld.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar appointed Brian Murphy as his Chief of Staff along with advisers Angela Flanagan, Philip O’Callaghan, Claire Mungoan, Sara O’Neill and Matt Lynch.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan received clearance to appoint his Joint Chiefs of Staff Anna Conlan and Donal Geogheghan. Mr Ryan also appointed David Healy, Eamon Fahey and Niamh Allen as advisers. Mr Ryan has three other advisers who were not brought before Cabinet.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue appointed Patrick Donohoe and Darren Brennan.

Ministers of State in Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon also got clearance for special advisers.

The special adviser appointments are brought to Cabinet by their individual departments. However, funding for the appointments is cleared by Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath.

On December 10, Mr McGrath uploaded details of 23 special adviser appointments to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website.

However, the document did not include any appointments to Department of the Taoiseach.

The annual salaries of the first batch of special advisers will cost around €2m. It is unclear how much the salaries of the 20 advisers brought to cabinet today will cost.

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Online Editors