Friday 24 November 2017

Retiring TDs to get €700,000 in first 12 months

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

The latest three Fianna Fail TDs to quit politics are set to be paid more than €700,000 of taxpayers' funds in the first 12 months of their retirement.

Former Education Minister Michael Woods (75), Defence Minister Tony Killeen (58) and junior housing minister Michael Finneran (63) will be entitled to receive an array of payments, including termination lump sums of around €16,000 each, termination payments of almost €64,000 and tax-free pension lump sums of €160,000 each.

Mr Woods will then be able to receive a TD's and minister's pension worth around €106,000 a year, while Mr Killeen's will be worth around €82,000 a year.

Mr Finneran, who has had a shorter ministerial career, will get a pension of around €60,000. Although the official retirement age is 65, TDs elected before 2004 can claim their pensions from the age of 50.

Mr Woods will earn more in retirement than he would have as if he had been re-elected at the next election as a backbench TD (basic salary: €92,672).

If all three TDs had waited until after the next General Election to retire, their pension payments would have been worth far less -- because the "period of grace" for retiring public servants would be over.

Their pensions would then have been calculated on the reduced TD and ministerial salaries introduced in the 2009 Budget.

All three can also each receive termination payments worth €63,909 in the 12 months after they retire -- and then start claiming their TD pensions.

And they will also get a termination lump sum of €16,400, worth two months of a TD's pay, when they retire.

Although Mr Killeen is one year short of the 20 years' service required for a full TD's pension of €53,300, he is likely to get one due to his pensionable service as chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Member's Interests.

Mr Killeen was appointed Defence Minister in March last year to replace Willie O'Dea. That means he will just have one year's ministerial service by the likely election date in mid to late March.

Entitlements

But prior to his appointment to the Cabinet, he served as a junior minister for six years in three different departments and can claim half of this towards his ministerial pension entitlements (three years).

That means he will have four year's ministerial service -- which entitles him to 30pc of a full ministerial pension.

He will therefore receive around €37,500 a year. That means his total combined annual pension will be around €82,000 when cutbacks on public service pensions in Budget 2011 are taken into account.

Mr Finneran was first elected to the to the Dail in the 2002 General Election, so he has eight years' service as a TD.

However, he spent 13 years in the Seanad from 1989-2002 -- and this can be converted to Dail service -- bringing him easily over the 20-year threshold for a full pension of €53,000.

He will be entitled to a junior ministerial pension of around €10,909. He will also be able to receive a pension lump sum of €160,000.

His total combined annual pension will be worth around €60,000 when Budget cutbacks are taken into account.

Irish Independent

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