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Martin gets 'obscene' €95,000 severance pay

FORMER Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin will qualify instantly for "obscene" severance payments of around €95,000 after quitting his job.

Under legislation introduced in 1992, ex-ministers and ex-attorney generals get severance payments for two years to compensate them for the loss of their ministerial salary of €98,745.

However, Mr Martin will be contesting the next general election, so he will not be claiming his ministerial pension (which would have been worth almost €75,000 per year) and a TD's pension (worth around €54,000 per year).

Fine Gael Senator John Paul Phelan criticised the severance package for Mr Martin as "obscene".

"I don't know how you could justify that type of a payment to a man who's been a minister in a Government for 13 years which has brought the country to its knees," he said.

Mr Martin tendered his resignation to Taoiseach Brian Cowen after mounting an unsuccessful leadership heave against him.

As a result of his resignation, he will lose his ministerial car and garda driver. He will also lose another perk of the job -- the three extra civil service staff who were assigned to his constituency local office to deal with local issues.


Mr Phelan, who is running for Fine Gael in the general election in Carlow-Kilkenny, said the system of severance payments would have to be changed by the next Government.

"It's pay-outs like that which are understandably and correctly making the general public's blood boil," he said.

This week, the mayor of Knox county in Tennessee, USA, officially eliminated severance packages for all employees. Mayor Tim Burchett made the move after his predecessor handed out payouts of US$13,000 (€9,650) each to three department heads who quit.

The €95,000 is taxable, so Mr Martin will receive less than half the amount.

The payments are also been made to other politicians who have lost office -- such as former Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue.

He received severance payments of €18,481 in 2009 in the first instalment of a severance package potentially worth €112,000.

There were also severance payments ranging from €18,000 to €25,000 for former junior ministers replaced by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.


Irish Independent