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Burton clings on to pension from her lecturing job

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Labour's Joan Burton resigned from DIT last year.

Labour's Joan Burton resigned from DIT last year.

Labour's Joan Burton resigned from DIT last year.

Social Welfare Minister Joan Burton is keeping her right to a public-sector pension from her previous job as a college lecturer.

The minister said she would give up her pension once she clocked up full service as a TD or minister -- but not until then.

Previously, controversies have arisen over politicians clinging on to multiple pensions after leaving elected office -- most notably European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Ms Burton has 20 years' service in DIT and resigned from her position as a senior lecturer in accounting last year -- after nearly a decade on leave of absence -- just days before she was appointed to the Cabinet.

Ms Burton has 15 years' service as a TD, five short of the 20 necessary for a full pension.

And the Labour Party TD has six years chalked up as a minister -- five as a junior minister and one as a senior minister.

"I have surrendered my eligibility for a pension and lump sum while I am a TD. I do not presently have sufficient service either of 20 years as a TD or 10 years as a minister to qualify for a full pension," she told the Irish Independent.

"In the event that I do accumulate such service I will surrender my DIT pension and lump sum rights."

The minister said she counted her service as a junior and Cabinet minister in the 10-year timeframe.

When Ms Burton resigned from DIT she did not receive any lump sum or severance payment at the time. The minister was on leave of absence from 2002 to 2011 and from 1992 to 1997 while she served as a TD.

Ms Burton contributed the standard percentage of salary to the DIT pension scheme during her 20-year period of service.

Contributions

However, unlike schools, there is no provision in the Institutes of Technology for additional contributions while on leave of absence.

Ms Burton was promoted to the post of senior lecturer around 1999 when she had returned to lecturing after losing her seat in 1997. She served as senior lecturer from 1999 until her re-election in 2002.

"My total DIT teaching service amounts to about 20 years. During those years, I paid pension contributions in full," she said.

The salary scale for a senior lecturer in DIT ranges from €74,000 to €104,000.

The standard pension for a lecturer with 40 years' service is a lump sum of one-and-a-half times their final salary when they retire and an ongoing pension of half salary.

In Ms Burton's case, with 20 years' service, those figures would be halved again.

Irish Independent