Sunday 17 November 2019

Ex-ministers will have to take hit on big payments

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

FORMER Taoisigh, ex-ministers and retired senior civil servants getting bumper pensions won't be singled out for special cuts – but they will be expected to take some of the hit when more details of the pay deal are announced today.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform says the new public sector pay agreement will allow for "additional savings" in certain sectors, including "public service pensions".

It is expected that under the deal, pensions under €32,500 will not be affected. But pensions above that figure will take a reduction.

Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, pictured, are in receipt of around €150,000 annually, and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said he has already pushed the legal limits in what he can do to bring such controversial pensions down.

He added the deal will not single out those in receipt of bumper political pensions.

However, he said any pension changes would take in the likes of Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen, as well as ex-ministers and retired senior civil servants.

"In terms of generality of impact on all pensions, they will apply to those as well," Mr Howlin told RTE.

But when asked if he would specially target former office holders, Mr Howlin insisted he had already pushed the limits by reducing their pensions by 20pc.

"In terms of very high pensioners, ex-politicians and ex-senior public servants, I've looked very hard at that. I introduced specific legislation in 2011," he added.

"Taking the careful advice of the attorney general, I went as far as I could to put an additional 20pc reduction on those particular pensions.

"Over and above all the other changes that have been made, there is an imposition on those high pensioners in as far as the advice we have from the attorney general."

Agreement

He also said the current Cabinet will have their pensions reduced because their pay – and the amount going into their pensions – is coming down.

"When you reduce people's income generally, their pension will be impacted upon and that will be ourselves who are currently working, our pensions will be proportionally adjusted by the payroll cut."

Irish Independent

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