SINN Féin will not ask retiring TDs, including former leader Gerry Adams, to give back any of their pension entitlements - but has promised to reduce retirement payments to future TDs and Ministers.
The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty was responding to a report in today’s 'Irish Independent' which revealed the €22m bonanza due to 17 retiring TDs.
Among them are Mr Adams who is entitled to an estimated lump sum of around €63,000 and an annual pension of €21,060 which would make his pension in the private market worth an estimated €686,592. His fellow outgoing colleagues Jonathan O’Brien (€495k), Martin Ferris (€1.5m), Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (€1.7m) are also set to receive substantial pension payments.
Sinn Féin has long championed its public representatives' refusal to take pay increases awarded to TDs and Senators in recent years, as well as their commitment to taking the average industrial wage.
But speaking at a Sinn Féin campaign event in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Doherty said: “It's up to individuals as to whether they want to give back money to the State. It's up to them to do that.”
He said that Sinn Féin in government would outlaw the practice of TDs being able to retire and claim their pensions before the age of 65 and would also legislate to reduce the salaries of TDs, Ministers and office-holders.
“So by reducing the salaries of TDs and senators, by reducing the salaries of ministers and office holders, it will reduce the pensions that they would be entitled to also,” he said.
Mr Doherty was speaking after outlining a series of measures aimed at giving money give back to voters, including a €1.2bn pledge to exempt anyone earning under €30,000 from paying Universal Social Charge.
The party is also proposing to reduce the retirement age from 66 to 65 and increase the State pension by €20. Combined these two measures will cost over €1.1bn. Sinn Féin is also again pledging to abolish the local property tax in this general election at a cost of nearly €500m.
“That shows the quantum of money that we’re talking about putting back into people’s pockets, but there’s other measures as well,” he said.
Mr Doherty also highlighted Sinn Féiin’s plan to abolish levies on non-life insurance policies at a cost of €630m per year. The party claims this will reduce premiums by around 5pc.
The finance spokesman said the party’s overall tax package would target “areas of this economy that are gone untaxed” highlighting vulture funds, property developers and insurance industry.
He said there will be an increase in the overall tax base when Sinn Féin publishes full figures its manifesto. This will include an effective third rate of tax on higher earners.
You have to admire public servants. The biggest issue in the election so far is the State pension age being raised. Yet our public servants managed to insulate themselves from this costly change.