Robert Watt temporarily waives €81,000 salary increase as new Department of Health role confirmed

Watt said he would waive the substantial salary increase “until the economy begins to recover and unemployment falls”.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced the appointment of Robert Watt as Secretary-General at the Department of Health on Tuesday.

Watt was appointed interim Secretary-General of the Department of Health in January while a recruitment process for the permanent position was underway.

The process has caused major controversy after it was proposed that the position would command a salary of €292,000.

Watt, who currently earns around €211,000 per year, said he will waive the salary increase until such time as “the economy recovers and unemployment falls”.

“I am pleased that Robert is taking on this really important role in the Department of Health,” said Minister Stephen Donnelly in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Department continues to work through the challenge of Covid-19, is leading on the vaccination programme, and the implementation of Sláintecare. Robert brings a wealth of experience to this role and I look forward to working with him in the time ahead.”

Robert Watt added: “I was delighted to be asked to take on the role of Interim Secretary-General in the Department of Health earlier this year. An open TLAC competition was held and I am pleased to be asked to take on this role on a permanent basis following the Government meeting today.

“The proposed salary for this role is higher than my current salary. I don’t think it is appropriate to take such an increase in pay given the current difficult economic conditions the country faces.

“It had always been my intention that, if I were to be appointed to this role, I would waive this increase until the economy begins to recover and unemployment falls.”

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