A “special adviser” in accordance with Section 19 of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 is a person who –
- occupies or occupied a position to which section 7(1)(e) of the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 relates, having been selected for appointment to that position by an office holder personally otherwise than by means of a competitive procedure; or
- is or was employed under a contract for services by an office holder, having been selected for the award of the contract by an office holder personally otherwise than by means of a competitive procedure,
and whose function or principal function as such a person is or was to provide advice or other assistance to or for the office holder.
A special adviser also includes a person appointed, by order of the Government, pursuant to section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997.
A special adviser whose remuneration exceeds the salary at the second long service increment point of the Higher Executive Officer (non-personal pension contribution) scale in the Civil Service, i.e. €55,415 with effect from 1 January 2010, must furnish a statement in writing of their own interests that could materially influence the special adviser in or in relation to the performance of his or her official functions, to the office holder who appointed the special adviser or on whose behalf the appointment was made and to the Standards Commission. This form is laid before the Oireachtas and is deemed public. Where there are no interests to disclose, there is no obligation on a special adviser to furnish a nil statement. Where no interests exist there is no requirement on an office holder to lay a nil statement of a special adviser before the Oireachtas. This arrangement reflects the different status of these positions whose tenure is directly linked to an Office Holder.
The special adviser must also furnish a statement in writing of any interest of which the special adviser has actual knowledge of his or her spouse or civil partner, or child or a child of a spouse (i.e. ‘additional interests’), which could materially influence the special adviser in or in relation to the performance of his or her official functions to the office holder who appointed the special adviser, or on whose behalf the appointment was made, and to the Standards Commission. This form is not laid before the Oireachtas.
Special advisers are required to undertake that they will not engage in any trade, profession, vocation or other occupation which might reasonably be seen to be capable of interfering with or being incompatible with the role of special adviser.
The terms under which a person holds a special advisership are deemed to include a term that the person will comply with the requirements of the Ethics in Public Office Acts.
Special advisers (section 19 of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995)
Disclosure of material interests
Where a function of a special advisership falls to be performed and the special adviser has actual knowledge that he or she or a connected person, has a material interest the function, the special adviser must furnish a statement in writing of the fact and the interest the office holder and to the Standards Commission. The special adviser should not perform the function unless there are compelling reasons to do so. If the special adviser proposes to perform the function, he or she should prepare and furnish a statement in writing of the compelling reasons to the office holder and the Standards Commission. This applies whether or not the interest has been disclosed in an annual ethics statement.