Senior civil servant in Ireland receives full €294,920 salary

Robert Watt, secretary general at the department, is no longer waiving the €81,000 pay hike he got when he was appointed to the senior role in April last year.

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The most senior civil servant in the Department of Health in Ireland has confirmed he is in receipt of the full 294,920 euro salary for his job.

Robert Watt, secretary general at the department, is no longer waiving the 81,000 pay hike he got when he was appointed to the senior role in April last year.

The annual salary was set to increase from 211,000 euro to 292,000 euro.

Following his appointment, Mr Watt said he would forgo the salary hike until the economy “begins to recover and unemployment falls”.

Mr Watt had faced mounting pressure in recent weeks to confirm whether he is in receipt of his full salary.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin on Wednesday played down the issue.

“The gifting of salaries is a matter for the individual concerned,” he said when asked by reporters about Mr Watt’s salary.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Government decided to set a new level for pay for the secretary general of the Department of Health. And I believe in it.

“I think health needs very strong and sustained radical reform and that applies to the Department of Health as well as agencies.

“I want health, the Department of Health, to be the go-to department.

“It is by far the largest spending department in Government, with huge implications for our lives.”

Mr Martin said he had not spoken to Mr Watt about the matter.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “The secretary general has confirmed that he is in receipt of the full salary for his role.”

Revised civil service pay scales, which came into effect in October, increased his wage from 292,000 euro to 294,920 euro.

Mr Watt receives an estimated 12,957 euro a month.

On Tuesday, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar refused to be drawn into the matter, saying it was a personal decision for Mr Watt.

He said that under GDPR rules, Mr Watt does not have to disclose whether he is accepting his full wage.