Fianna Fail MEPs cling on to double payments
FIANNA Fail MEPs Liam Alyward and Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher were last night clinging on to their "double pensions" on top of their €91,000 salaries from the European Parliament.
Mr Gallagher said he had not been contacted by Taoiseach Brian Cowen -- and did not feel under any pressure to give up his two pensions.
"In fairness to the Taoiseach, I'm under no pressure from him and neither is Liam," he said.
Mr Alyward got a ministerial pension of €12,261 and a TD's pension of €52,213 in 2008 -- and is understood to have received similar payments last year.
Mr Gallagher received a ministerial pension worth €23,634 and is also receiving a TD's pension.
Mr Gallagher, who was elected an MEP in the North West constituency last June, said his income had dropped from €126,000 as a TD to €91,500 now.
"If I thought my pension and salaries could contribute to the resolution of the problem back in one part of Donegal or any part of the north west, I would throw up the lot," he said.
Mr Gallagher, whose former Dail seat in Donegal South West is still vacant, said he did not feel under pressure by reports of other politicians surrendering their ministerial pensions.
Other Irish MEPs entitled to Dail pensions have given them up -- including Labour's Prionsias de Rossa, and Fine Gael MEPs Gay Mitchell and Jim Higgins.
Mr Alyward could not be contacted for comment yesterday.