Noonan defends ministerial pension for charity
Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan last night defended his continued payment of a ministerial pension, which he says he donates to charity.
Mr Noonan (pictured below) is one of four Fine Gael TDs who still claim their ministerial pensions.
Fellow former ministers, foreign affairs spokesman Sean Barrett, Jim O'Keeffe and Bernard Durkan, also donate the money to charity in line with a party decision earlier this year.
Fianna Fail TD Noel Treacy also accepts his pension which he says he gives to charity.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny announced back in spring that all ministerial pension holders in his party had volunteered to give up the payment, either by refusing it or donating it to charity.
Mr Noonan said last night that all amounts payable to him as ministerial pensions were paid directly into a dedicated bank account. "The full amount of the pension is paid out by way of standing order, each month, to two well-known charities.
"This arrangement has been in place since Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny requested that former Fine Gael ministers, in receipt of ministerial pension, would either assign the pension to the Exchequer or donate it to charity. The bank account records will verify the veracity of this statement," he added.
Mr Noonan earned €30,000 from his pension this year, Mr Barrett €19,000, Mr O'Keeffe €14,000 and Mr Durkan €4,000.
Fine Gael proposed back in April to immediately halt ministerial pension payments to sitting TDs.
Following next year's General Election, no sitting TD will be paid a ministerial pension.
The move means it will be more lucrative for long-serving Fianna Fail ministers to retire, rather than return as a TD on the salary of €95,000.