‘Sit Tight On This For Now’

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Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty and letters sent in relation to press queries about former Government chief whip Regina Doherty’s €16,000 super junior allowance

Yesterday.

In the Sunday Business Post.

Hugh O’Connell reported on the €16,000 allowance that the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty was paid when she was government whip but subsequently told to pay back to the State.

She was paid it as she was one of the three so-called super junior ministers at Cabinet.

But, as readers will recall, legislation only allows for two politicians to receive the sum.

She told The Irish Times last Monday that she was told to pay it back following a report by the Attorney General.

Further to this…

Yesterday Mr O’Connell reported:

It was only confirmed last Monday that Doherty, who is now the Minister for Employment and Social Protection, would be repaying the allowance despite her department being informed this would need to happen at the end of July following a review by the Attorney General.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show that a letter from the Department of Public Expenditure (DPER) was issued to Regina Doherty’s new department on 26 July last asking officials to make arrangements for the money to be repaid.

…The documents reveal a number of journalists made inquiries to the Department of Public Expenditure’s press office about the allowances situation with officials seeking out Stephen Lynam, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe’s special adviser, for advice on how to proceed.

On August 14, Lynam told the DPER press office to “sit tight on this for now” after being alerted to a journalist’s inquiring if the AG’s review of salary arrangements had concluded and what the outcome was.

The following day, Lynam drafted a response to be issued to the journalist which said the AG’s report had been received, that it was being “considered” and that it would be “dealt with in due course”. Lynam said in the email: “If he [the journalist] comes back looking for anything else, you can say we are not going to comment further for now.”

Further to this…

An email sent to journalist Ken Fox on August 15

In respect of the SBP article, Ken Foxe has tweeted the email above from August 15, saying:

Been in journalism a long time but kind of staggered to have a government department bare face lie to you about Regina Doherty allowance.

Previously: Meanwhile In The Dáil

Ken Foxe

Letters via Hugh O’Connell

6 thoughts on “‘Sit Tight On This For Now’

  1. Alatriste Kid Jensen

    How did Regina ever become a minister in the first place. She seems to be a walking disaster, an Ivor Callely in waiting.

  2. Donal

    People get overpaid all the time (inadvertently or otherwise) and arrangements are made to pay it back. That in itself isn’t huge news
    It has now become news because they decided to hold back the confirmation of it for 2 months, and to what end?
    All this will do is make journalists asking questions more suspicious of the replies under FOI, and make them dig that bit harder

  3. Kolmo

    If the payment was received in error and if the error was made known to the recipient, why was the recipient not at pains to payback the exchequer as quickly as possible lest it make her look bad regardless of the unintentional error..or maybe she knew she could call the heavies again to stamp out any critical voices…

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