Wednesday 17 July 2019

Angry scenes in Dail as Tanaiste challenged over controversial Ministerial pension top-ups

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton

Niall O’Connor

THERE were angry scenes in the Dáil today as Tánaiste Joan Burton was challenged over the controversial pension top-ups to former ministers and taoisigh.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said it is incumbent on the Government to introduce emergency legislation to block the payments, which were laid down in the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The top-ups of up to €1,600 are being paid to former senior politicians such as Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern over the next three years.

But the issue sparked furious exchanges in the Dáil today during the final Leaders’ Questions of the current term.

Roscommon/South Leitrim TD Michael Fitzmaurice lashed the Government over the payment and demanded that emergency legislation be introduced.

“These people who have absconded, they are gone. Ex-Taoisigh and ex-ministers, some of them living out of the State, they don’t give a damn. They don’t care about small businesses,” Mr Fitzmaurice said.

“If we say it cannot be done, then we are giving up as a country,” he added.

The newly elected Dáil deputy was representing the Technical Group for the first time at ‘Leaders’ Questions’.

“Why dont you listen to the people on the ground who have made the sacrifices over the next six or seven years,” he said.

But the Labour Party leader deflected the criticism back on the independents, pointing out that they are paid €41,000 in allowances.

Waterford TD John Halligan and Wicklow/East Carlow TD Stephen Donnelly, who yesterday launched the Social Democrats, reacted angrily to the comments.

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