Gardai share €26m worth of payouts on retirement
Retiring gardai shared €26m in golden handshakes last year - with one garda walking away with a €230,000 lump sum payment, the Irish Independent has learned.
However, the Department of Justice has refused to reveal the rank of any of the 302 officers who retired in 2013.
At least 20 gardai received retirement payouts in excess of €100,000 while the top five enjoyed €876,185 between them. Some 13 officers got over €130,000 each.
The average gratuity payment for 2013 was €86,708 which is down slightly on the year before when 462 officers enjoyed an average retirement payment of €90,799.
But last year, one member of the force was awarded €229,553.20, the highest single payment and considerably more than the highest figure in 2012 where €207,000 was paid out to one of two retiring assistant commissioners that year.
The most senior garda to retire in 2013 was Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice who was in charge of strategy and change management before his early retirement in May.
Garda retirement policy states anyone who joined the force prior to April 2004 can retire on a full pension once they have served for at least 30 years and are aged 50 years or older. Those who joined after this date must serve until they are at least 55 years old.
However, gardai must retire when they turn 60. Overall there were 279 voluntary retirements, 11 compulsory retirements and six medical discharges in 2013.
Six gardai availed of 'cost neutral early retirements' - open to gardai who are over 50 but do not have 30 years service. In these cases, pensions and lump sums are reduced depending on length of service.
In addition to last year's retirements, 26 gardai resigned, three were dismissed and four died in service.
A total of 1,406 gardai are eligible to retire in 2014, including one deputy commissioner and eight assistant commissioners.
However, the department told the Irish Independent that only 31 members had so far indicated they intend to step down.
Some 15 officers, including two chief superintendents, must resign as they have reached the age cap.
There are just under 13,000 sworn members of An Garda Siochana, though this number will be added to in the coming years as recruitment recommenced last year for the first time in five years.