Sunday 17 December 2017

Joan Burton sends signal to Rabbitte and Quinn as she calls for retired politicians to return pension top-up

Joan Burton, Tanaiste
Joan Burton, Tanaiste
John Downing

John Downing

LABOUR leader Joan Burton has urged all retired politicians to consider giving back their pension top-ups.

The Social Protection Minister gave a clear message to her own party colleagues retired from cabinet, including former leaders Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte, that they should volunteer to surrender pension increases which come under recent national pay deals.

The Tanaiste also welcomed the draft eurozone deal with Greece – but rounded for Sinn Féin for “sloganising” on economics and not caring about the fate of ordinary people.

Ms Burton said the bulk of “office holders” – be they senior civil servants or politicians – were well off and some had other income from things like consultancy.

“Maybe they should, at this particular point in time, pause for thought and say: ‘I don’t particularly need it,’”  she told reporters.

The Labour leader said her party had pushed for reform of political pay and perks and ended things like severance pay for ministers leaving cabinet. She said many politicians and other office holders with big pensions had voluntarily surrendered a portion, in some cases up to €20,000 per year, and this practice should continue.

The Tanaiste also welcomed the draft eurozone deal agreed this morning after 17 hours of talks in Brussels. She said Labour’s colleagues across the European Union had tried to help Greece come to a compromise with EU colleagues.

Ms Burton also accused Sinn Féin of not addressing the real issues and having “indicated that they may favour default” on debt by stricken countries. She said default led to huge hardship for ordinary people.

“I think Sinn Féin’s version of economics on default is seriously lacking of any understanding of the hardship that would impose on the people of any country where there was a default,” the Tanaiste said.

Online Editors

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