€200k golden handshake for retiring garda
AN assistant garda commissioner received a golden handshake worth more than €200,000 when he left the force last year.
And the Department of Justice has confirmed that five former members of the force enjoy pensions worth more than €100,000 a year, with two others receiving annual payments of up to €80,000 each.
It is understood two assistant commissioners retired last year – Michael Feehan, who was in charge of policing in Dublin, and Kevin Ludlow, who was responsible for the southern region.
But the identity of the assistant commissioner who received the €207,000 payment has not been revealed.
The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, come after Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday confirmed that recruitment of new officers would resume in 2014.
Mr Shatter could not say how many officers would be recruited, but said 27,000 people had expressed an interest in joining the force and advertisements would be placed in newspapers.
However, the new recruits will not be entitled to the same lucrative pensions as their colleagues who recently retired.
This is because their pensions will be based on average career earnings, instead of final salary, on leaving the force.
Rank-and-file gardai typically earn between €25,000 and €44,000 a year after 17 years' service. Sergeants earn between €44,000 and €51,000, while the highest-paid member – the Garda Commissioner – earns €185,000 a year.
Members of An Garda Siochana are entitled to retire once they have reached 50 years of age and have 30 years' service. They must leave the force when they reach the age of 60.
Some 1,300 officers will be entitled to retire this year on full pension, but it is unlikely that all will decide to do so. As of last April, some 173 gardai had retired or declared their intention to retire during 2013.
The figures from the Department of Justice show the State paid out €41.94m to 462 retiring gardai last year, who each received an average lump sum payment of €90,799 each.
However, more senior gardai received far higher amounts.
The Department of Justice confirmed that one assistant commissioner received a lump sum of €207,927 in 2012, with five chief superintendents receiving pension payouts of between €170,000 and €183,005.
A total of 81 retirees received lump-sum payments of more than €100,000 in 2012.
The figures also show:
* The top 25 recipients – which include the assistant commissioner, five chief superintendents and 14 superintendents – shared a pension pot worth €3.8m.
* Five retired members of the force each received annual payments in excess of €100,000, with two others receiving pensions worth between €70,000 and €79,999.
* Another 30 retired members are in receipt of pension payouts of between €60,000 and €69,999, with 120 getting pensions of between €50,000 and €59,999 per annum.
* In 2011, some €46.81m was paid to 480 members, or €97,520 each. This compares with an average payment of €90,799 last year.
The identity of the top 25 earners was not revealed by the Department of Justice as it might "lead to identification of the individuals concerned".
Separate figures provided by Justice Minister Alan Shatter show that last year one assistant commissioner retired along with five chief superintendents and 19 superintendents.
They were joined by 24 inspectors, 119 sergeants and 294 rank-and-file gardai.
The 462 gardai who retired last year followed 480 who retired in 2011, 407 in 2010, 776 in 2009 and 341 in 2008.
The pension lump-sum pay-out last year is slightly more than the entire garda overtime bill of €41.5m in 2012.
Since 2008, 143 members of the force with a rank of superintendent or higher have received the bumper pension lump sums after retiring from the force.