Expenditure on pay in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has increased by 11%, which is primarily down to Brexit costs and increased staffing as a result of Brexit, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said.

The minister made the comments yesterday evening (Tuesday, March 30) at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in response to a question on expenditure posed by deputy Michael Fitzmaurice.

Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Michael Fitzmaurice said: “Pay in the department seems to be gone up 11% and administration non-pay is down 4%; could you give us a breakdown on that?”

In his response, the minister said:

In relation to the administration and pay, primarily the change around that is the Brexit costs and the cost of additional staff around Brexit. That’s where the bulk of that comes.

The minister highlighted in the meeting that his department has four expenditure programmes corresponding to the four key strategic objectives set out in the current statement of strategy, namely: food safety, animal and plant health and animal welfare; farm sector supports and controls; policy and strategy; and the seafood sector.

“If you look across the four programmes – A, B, C and D – you’ll see a similar increase across the four programmes.

“There is a calculation that we follow in terms of the public expenditure and pay calculation across those four programmes, which balances it out across the four.

We’ve a similar dynamic there as a result of the fact that you’re seeing across the four, but it’s primarily down to increased staffing allocation coming from Brexit.

“You do have the increases coming from public sector pay being applied to existing staff as well,” the minister concluded.