Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht): Statements
Richard O'Donoghue (Limerick County, Independent)
The Minister has dealt with the issue of the wood pigeon derogation. From a farming point of view, the farming community has already taken a major hit. I am delighted to see that common sense has prevailed on this issue. After speaking to the Minister earlier, I think it must come from her big Limerick connections, which are great to know about. It will make it a lot easier for me to be coming for extra bits and pieces for Limerick knowing that she has so close a connection to the place.
An issue was brought to my attention during the week which I want the Minister to check out and give clarity on. I understand the CEOs and senior management of some heritage sites have been paid their full salary since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. This was up to last week. Since last week, they have decided they are going to take a reduction in their pay, plus the Covid payment. I highlighted this in a tourism meeting that was chaired by Deputy Carey. Since then, I have been getting inklings that they are trying to backdate the payments and are running for the hills. Will the Minister confirm whether some of the CEOs and senior management of heritage sites have been taking a full salary even though there have been no visitors to any of the sites?
If CEOs and senior management have been doing this, I want full disclosure. At a time when there are no visitors to some of these heritage sites, how can we justify paying a full wage? I ask the Minister to answer that question.