Thursday 29 September 2016

Former Fianna Fáil Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were each paid ministerial pensions worth €80,810 last year

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

Published 12/05/2015 | 15:13

Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen
Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen
Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen

Former Fianna Fáil Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were each paid ministerial pensions worth €80,810 last year, the Dail has been told.

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Informing the Dail of the amounts paid to former leading office holders, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin detailed payments to former Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour Party and Progressive Democrats Taoisigh and ministers.

Apart from Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen, Mr Howlin said former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Burton who held office between 1994 and 1997 received €72,908.

Former PD Tanaiste Michael McDowell, who is a leading Senior Counsel, received €64,958 while Mary Harney received €63,478.

Former Fine Gael minister Peter Barry received €57,576 while former Labour Tanaiste Dick Spring got €56,386.

PD founding leader Des O'Malley received €56,059 while former Fianna Fáil minister and Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue got €54,812.

Former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy also got €54,812 as did former Fianna Fáil ministers Martin Cullen, Michael Smith.

Mr Howlin said the lowest payment was €4,761.

A full list of pension payments to former Taoisigh and ministers in 2014 will be made available later today.

Mr Howlin told the Dail that the figures were net of the pension reduction.

He also said that the figures dont reflect cases where monies have been gifted back to the State in full or in part.

Mr Howlin also said that pay rates for top civil servants will "be maintained"  despite new talks beginning with unions today.

Mr Howlin was speaking in the Dail this afternoon, Mr Howlin said that low and middle income earners are to be prioritised in the talks which will see some restoration to public sector pay.

He said any deal will have to be "prudent, modest and sustainable" and he said the Government will not be in a position to restore more than €2.2bn in cuts in one go.

He said public sector workers have made a significant contribution both in terms of increased productivity and pay savings.

Under questioning from Fianna Fail's Public Expenditure spokesman, Sean Fleming, Mr Howlin said Ireland is on track to reduce its budget deficit to 2.3pc of GDP this year.

He reiterated that the Government will have an additional €1.2bn and possibly as much as €1.5bn come Budget day in October to cut taxes and increase spending.

He said this increase will be done on a 50:50 basis between tax cuts and spending increases.

He criticised Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald for trying to "have it both ways" for saying the Government isn't spending enough and then is spending too much.

"You can't have it both ways," he said.

Mr Howlin also revealed that Government spending will increase by at least €300m in 2017, simply to address the country's ageing population.

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