Sunday 18 November 2018

Ex-minister on pension of ?66,000

Brian DowlingPolitical Correspondent

FORMER minister Ray Burke enjoys a publicly-funded pension of ?66,000 a year and it will continue to rise in line with future pay increases.

Mr Burke, branded as "corrupt" by the Flood Tribunal, will remain on the public payroll for the rest of his life, drawing a pension based on his years served as a minister and his time as a TD.

His State pension works out at over ?1,200 a week, well in excess of the pay of most middle management and almost on a par with the current basic salary for a sitting TD which now stands at almost ?74,000 a year.

Mr Burke, however, has maintained little contact with former colleagues in Fianna Fail since his dramatic resignation as a minister and TD in October 1997.

At present Mr Burke gets a pension of ?28,500 based on his former career as a minister and in addition to that he is also in receipt of approximately ?37,000 pension as a retired TD.

His TD's pension is calculated on the basis that he has surpassed the maximum service of 20 years as a member of the Dail and this entitles him to half the existing TD salary in pension. As TDs' salaries increase - such as with recent benchmarking hikes - so too will Mr Burke's pension.

He was first elected to the Dail in 1973 and held his seat until he resigned in 1997. During that time he also served in Cabinet on several occasions under Charles Haughey and Bertie Ahern.

In recent months, Mr Burke has had extensive dealings with officers of the Criminal Assets Bureau as they interviewed him about his financial dealings with off-shore accounts in the Isle of Man, London and the Channel Islands.

Shortly after he left public life amid the gathering political storm over allegations of corrupt payments in 1997, the former minister went to ground. When he finished his evidence at the tribunal, Mr Burke retreated back from the public stage and confined himself to family life. It remains unclear whether he has any business interests but former colleagues say that Mr Burke has settled for early retirement.

For a period he travelled back and forth to the UK. "Ray knows he has few options. He knew that the Flood Tribunal would open more investigations and that he will be dealing with those issues for some years to come. He is pragmatic enough to deal with that," said one source.

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