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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Judges collect huge pensions after taking large golden handshakes

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Published 05/12/2012 | 05:00

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Seven judges who retired in the past five years are on whopping pensions of over €100,000.

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And they left the public service on golden handshakes of anything up to €400,000.

None of the judges who have retired since the economic downturn began in 2008 is on a pension of less than €56,000 a year.

The figures obtained by Fine Gael TD Derek Keating in a Parliamentary Question again highlight the massive pensions being paid at the higher end of the public sector.

The furore over the pensions of bankers and politicians is blamed in part for Fine Gael's dramatic drop in the latest opinion poll.

The largest pension and retirement payments went to Richard Johnson, the former President of the High Court, who retired in October 2009 with a lump sum of €412,000 and an annual pension of €137,000. Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin said the figures are gross and do not reflect the application of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) or tax liability.

But Mr Keating called on the Government to include higher level pensions in any special tax rates to be introduced in the Budget. He also hit out at what he described as "the most blatant example of Fianna fail hypocrisy".

"While the country under the stewardship of Fianna Fail from 2008-2011 was going down the tubes economically, district court, circuit court, high court and supreme court judges were being paid massive retirement pensions," he said.

Hike

"What message does this send out, when judges are not only paid a massive severance payment to the hundreds of thousands of euros but have a pension pot," he added.

The Government is going to bring in a special tax on pensions today in the form of a 3pc hike in the USC on pensions over €60,000.

The Universal Social Charge increase on high pensions will impact upon fat-cat retired bankers, former Government ministers and retired senior public servants.

Irish Independent

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