Dáil Éireann - Volume 400 - 27 June, 1990
Written Answers. - Houses of the Oireachtas Secretarial Assistants.
Mr. Higgins Mr. Higgins
82. Mr. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance if he will set up a review body in order to establish the appropriate grades for the secretarial staff employed by the political parties in Leinster House, Dublin 2.
Proinsias De Rossa Proinsias De Rossa
85. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Finance the steps he intends to take to improve the pay and working conditions of secretarial assistants, employed in the Houses of the Oireachtas, under the scheme of secretarial assistance for members; if in view of the wide range of responsible duties carried out by the secretarial assistants, he will consider regarding them to a Civil Service grade more appropriate to the duties they are carrying out; if he will agree to a request from the union to meet him to discuss regarding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds) Albert Reynolds
 Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds): I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 85 together.
The scheme of secretarial assistance for Deputies and Senators is a non-statutory one and it has been my practice and that of my predecessors to restrict our involvement in its operation to determining at the start of each new Dáil the overall allocation of posts between political parties. In so far as the distribution of work between individual secretarial staff is concerned, our approach has been that this is best determined by individual Members and parties in the light of their own priorities and work practices. I should be most reluctant to embark on any exercise which would involve intrusion by any official or group into the circumstances of individual posts.
There has been a well-established relationship between the pay of secretarial assistants and that of specific grades in the Civil Service, whose pay determination takes account of a wide range of outside comparisons, which has worked to the benefit of the secretarial staff and made for the orderly conduct of industrial relations. I would be loath to disturb this arrangement by the establishment of a review body. I have, however, indicated to the union which represents the staff in Leinster House that I would be prepared to have the generality of secretarial posts examined by a working group drawn from the union and my Department with a view to determining whether the developments affecting their members and the Civil Service grades with which they are linked would warrant any modification of the existing links.
Dáil Éireann 400 Written Answers. Houses of the Oireachtas Secretarial Assistants.