Tuesday 17 September 2019

Penrose to get severance of €30,000 after quitting Cabinet

Fionnan Sheahan and Tom Brady

Former Cabinet minister Willie Penrose will get a golden handshake of €30,000 after resigning from Government yesterday over the closure of his local army barracks.

Mr Penrose stood down three months after returning to work following an operation.

But coalition sources denied his health was in any way related to his decision.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government "has to make decisions which are in the best interests of the country".

"Every minister has to support the decision the Government has to take," he said.

Government sources said Mr Penrose had backed himself into a corner.

The Government is going to close four army barracks in Mullingar, Clonmel, Cavan and Castlebar, as part of the budget cutbacks and a reorganisation of the Army.


Mr Penrose opposed the closure of the barracks in Mullingar, his bailiwick in his Longford-Westmeath constituency.

The Housing Minister said the closure of the barracks makes no financial sense and will cost money.

He contradicted Taoiseach Enda Kenny's claim that the move would save €5m in the longer term. The former minister said he had seen the details of the Comprehensive Review of Spending and the document did not back up his claim.

Mr Penrose resigned after a Cabinet meeting where the barracks closure was decided upon and after Labour Party ministers tried to get him to reconsider. He stood down and resigned the Labour whip, after 19 years as a party TD. After eight months as a so-called Super Junior Minister, Mr Penrose will depart with a severance payment of about €30,000.

But he will not qualify for any ministerial pension as he has less than the two years of service required.

The minister will also lose his ministerial drivers, his allowance for a car and his adviser.

On top of his TD's salary of €92,000, he is paid another €54,000 as a junior minister sitting at the Cabinet table.

He will get paid 75pc of his ministerial salary for six months and 50pc for another two months.


Irish Independent

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