Equal pay was forced upon Ireland by the EU (how can you not love it?) on accession in 1973. Despite the then Government’s fighting a dastardly rear action to protect unequal pay for equal work, the EU won the day. The Government, resigned to its fate, decided to appoint a number of equality officers to ensure that the principle was observed. However, as you can imagine, it took a while for the new arrangements to be implemented and for some time there were transitional arrangements in place.
The outcome of this was that when the equality officer posts were advertised, they were advertised on the transitional scales with lower pay rates for women than for men.
[Insert relevant cliche here – perhaps “you couldn’t make it up”]