Saturday 24 February 2018

Taxpayers forked out €93k for each of Ahern and Cowen's pensions last year

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen both collected ministerial pensions of €93,400 last year, new figures reveal.

Ex-Taoiseach John Bruton was paid a ministerial pension of €85,000.

Only 11 former ministers gave back all or part of their pension to the taxpayer last year.

The Finance Accounts for 2013 from the Department of Finance shows €12.4m was paid in pensions to former Constitutional, ministerial and judicial office-holders.

The accounts also show €195,000 was surrendered by recipients, with the precise amounts given up by each officeholder listed.

Former presidents get paid the highest pensions in the State. Former President Mary McAleese received a pension of €137,000, while her predecessor Mary Robinson got almost €128,000. But President Michael D Higgins has waived his ministerial pension of €37,300.

The figures for the ministerial pensions do not include TDs' pensions paid to retired politicians, which come from a separate fund.

Ministerial pensions are paid by the Department of Finance, while TDs' pensions come from the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Ministers who have resigned during the lifetime of this Government have surrendered their pensions, with Lucinda Creighton giving up €11,400 last year after she resigned over the abortion legislation, the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act, 2013.

Roisin Shortall has given up a pension of €21,000.

Fianna Fail TDs who formerly sat in Cabinet have also given up their pensions, following a commitment during the 2011 general election.

This saw Micheal Martin surrendering €1,800, Brendan Smith €4,800 and Eamon O Cuiv €4,800. Outgoing European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn has given up her pension, while she holds her post in Brussels. She waived a €54,500 pension last year.

A number of MEPs, who were still in office last year also surrendered their pensions in 2013. Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell did not take his €4,600, Labour's Proinsias de Rossa waived €27,500 and Fianna Fail's Liam Aylward waived €10,200, the figures from the Department show.

Irish Independent

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