Thursday 27 April 2017

Former leaders have cachet and earning power - why must we pay plush pensions?

John Bruton has no trouble earning a living outside of politics. GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages
John Bruton has no trouble earning a living outside of politics. GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

Why are former Taoisigh, presidents and other senior officeholders awarded bloated pensions? So they don't have to find work as oil rig workers, clampers, sewage disposal staff, call centre operators, or any of the other jobs which feature regularly on least desirable occupation lists?

Oh, and to repay them for their services to the State. But those well-heeled pensions in a down-at-heel world are justified on the basis that former leaders shouldn't have to hawk their skills around. Pensions help protect the dignity of the title.

However, it's not uncommon for former titleholders to do the double. To take the pension, and bulk up with additional income. Sometimes, they accept a high-profile job with a salary. Failing that, there are lucrative sidelines in consultancies and after-dinner speaking.

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