Sunday 4 December 2016

Taoiseach must act on pensions

Published 28/04/2010 | 05:00

LIKE snails, or children trudging reluctantly to school, they came to surrender their ministerial pensions. The biggest and boldest of them all hung back and watched as his mates in the political class, one by one, bowed to public opinion . . . in the national interest. But, in the end, he too felt obliged to do the right thing.

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Before the light dawned, some time yesterday afternoon, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was insisting that he would hand back his €83,426 pension only if the Government asked him to do so.

Before last Friday, only 10 out of 32 politicians in receipt of ministerial pensions had decided to forgo them. Mary O'Rourke said yesterday that she had done so, months ago, because she felt there was something "creepy" about receiving such rewards from the public purse at this time. Others appear to have experienced an epiphany in the wake of the European Commissioner's arrogant riposte last Friday when asked by a reporter if she would consider handing back her Dail pensions . . . in the national interest.

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