News Analysis

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Anne-Marie Walsh: Howlin's golden opportunity to seal deal and gain some welcome kudos

Published 14/02/2013 | 04:00

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GOLD-PLATED pensioners are an easy target for the Government as it tries to bag a quick deal with public servants by the end of the month.

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State employees and the public have little sympathy for those who enjoy bumper payments from the public purse to see them through retirement.

What grates is that some of the big names associated with bringing the country to its knees are now enjoying pensions of well over €100,000-a-year while they pick up the pieces.

A list of the best-paid political pensioners makes eye-watering reading for those ravaged by job losses and cuts to their hours or pay.

One such list released two years ago showed that over 100 ex-ministers were enjoying a pension bonanza worth €8.8m a year, despite pension cuts brought in by the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

Thirty of them enjoyed pensions of more than €100,000 a year, most of them a combination of TD and ministerial pensions.

They included former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern on €152,331, and Brian Cowen on €151,061, while former minister Mary Harney was on €129,805, and Ray Burke enjoyed €103,838.

Mr Ahern, who had given up part of his pension, then took it back on the quiet.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin cannot afford for talks on an extra €1bn savings to go belly-up, just months after he failed to get the savings he promised through a review of public sector allowances.

Further pension cuts may not raise a huge amount of cash, but he would achieve a double whammy.

They would help entice public servants to sign a deal that means they take cuts to their premium payments and allowances, while sending a welcome message to the public.

Irish Independent

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