Sacked ministers to get €53,000 'parachute' pay
FIVE junior ministers will be sacked tomorrow and walk away with a "golden parachute" payment worth up to €53,000 each.
The axed ministers will get severance payments for two years to "compensate" them for loss of earnings as their salary drops back to the €100,000 or so of a backbencher.
The lucrative payoff was revealed as the government backed off on several Budget promises designed to make sure that politicians "share the pain".
It emerged that TDs already receiving long-service payments will retain them, despite Finance Minister Brian Lenihan telling the Dail on Budget Day that deputies would no longer receive the payments.
And just three of Mr Cowen's Fianna Fail colleagues are willing to voluntarily hand over pensions they receive as former ministers, while still serving as TDs or senators. That is despite Mr Lenihan's announcement in the Budget that ministerial pensions would no longer be paid to sitting Oireachtas members.
The cabinet will meet tomorrow to plot a course following the Easter recess.
Mr Cowen will also announce which 15 of the 20 resigning junior ministers will be re-hired.
The Taoiseach yesterday insisted there had been "no intention" to give the "wrong impression" during Mr Lenihan's Budget speech about the withdrawal of long service increments.