Tuesday 20 March 2018

TD 'didn't notice' €7,000 pension cash in account

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

A FIANNA Fail TD who was wrongly paid €7,000 of his ministerial pension said he never noticed the money going into his bank account.

Former Junior Agriculture Minister John Browne was paid the money over the past seven months since getting re-elected in his Wexford constituency -- despite the payment being banned for sitting TDs.

The embarrassing mix-up occurred because there is a retired politician also called John Browne -- a former Fine Gael TD for Carlow-Kilkenny who served in the Dail from 1989-2002.

Mr Browne -- of Fianna Fail -- said he only realised what had happened when the Department of Public Expenditure named him last week as being one of 109 former ministers getting almost €8.8m in pension payments.

"I'm annoyed with the department. I didn't ask for the money, I didn't seek the money and I didn't know it was being paid into my account," he said.

The previous government passed legislation to ban former ministers claiming their pensions while serving in the Dail.

Mr Browne said he had expected to have his ministerial pension -- worth €10,981 over 12 months -- cut off as it had been for other former ministers re-elected last February.

Insatead, the Department of Public Expenditure paid him €7,396 up to last week because it confused him with the former Fine Gael TD of the same name, who was legitimately getting a TD's pension of €44,220.

The department yesterday apologised to Mr Browne "for the embarrassment caused".

Irish Independent

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