Friday 19 January 2018

McCreevy in line for €11,000 a month in EU severance deal

Sarah Collins in Brussels

EX-FINANCE minister Charlie McCreevy is one of 17 former EU commissioners who are currently drawing down a lucrative severance package -- which could amount to €11,000 a month -- from the EU executive in Brussels, it has been confirmed.

The money, according to a spokesman for the commission, is being paid to "facilitate the re-entry into the workplace and preserve the independence" of outgoing top officials. It is paid out for a maximum of three years after the incumbent leaves office.

The payments to Mr McCreevy could be as high as €11,000 a month, the spokesman said, although much depends on what he is raking in from his two non-executive directorships.

All attempts to reach Mr McCreevy for comment last night proved fruitless.

The Sallins, Co Kildare native left Brussels in February at the end of his term. In May, he took up a non-executive directorship on the board of Ryanair.

That appointment was investigated and approved by the commission at the time, a requirement for former top brass who land jobs in their first year out of Brussels.

As a Ryanair director, Mr McCreevy can hope to be paid between €30,000 and €50,000 a year, while his recent appointment as non-executive director with financial firm NBNK Investments will net him an additional €61,000 per annum, it has been reported.

The EU stipend will be docked if it turns out that he is earning more with it than the €20,000-a-month basic that he scooped as the bloc's internal-market chief, a position he held for five years.

Last year, he received a TD and ministerial pension of €125,000 on top of his €238,000 commissioner's salary.


He was also paid an Oireachtas pension of €52,123 for his time as a Fianna Fail TD and a ministerial pension of €75,003 for serving as finance and enterprise ministers.

Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell told the Irish Independent: "The package for commissioners does sound quite generous. We need to review this."

Labour MEP for Dublin Proinsias De Rossa said Mr McCreevy should hand the money back to Brussels, given the harsh economic climate.

"I don't think it's warranted or appropriate, given the partial role he played in ensuring the serious lack of regulation of financial institutions."

Mr De Rossa's colleague, Labour MEP Nessa Childers, said severance pay should be reserved for those who need it and candidates should be means tested before their pockets are lined.

Mr McCreevy (61), who is a former accountant, will soon be able to draw down three pensions.

The commission will pay him just over €4,000 a month when he turns 65, while the Irish taxpayer will fund his ministerial and TD pensions, which work out at around E90,000 a year and are payable from when he leaves office.

According to the EU anti-lobbying group ALTER-EU, a total of six of Mr McCreevy's contemporaries are now in jobs that could conflict with their former positions.

They include ex-industry chief Gunter Verheugen -- who is now running his own lobbying consultancy -- and erstwhile consumer supremo Meglena Kuneva, who secured a job with banking giant BNP Paribas.

As commissioner responsible for financial markets, Mr McCreevy gained a reputation for light-touch regulation.

Irish Independent

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