Saturday 18 November 2017

The cricket-loving ex-con paid €103,000 a year by taxpayers

Kim Bielenberg on the Minister who was jailed -- but still gets a handsome pension

Fall from grace: Ray
Fall from grace: Ray Burke

He famously offered tea and biscuits to builders when they arrived at his house with cash-stuffed brown envelopes. Sadly, when I caught up with Ray Burke this week, he was not quite so hospitable.

The former Fianna Fáil minister, and one-time inhabitant of Arbour Hill prison, steered his silver BMW into the driveway of his home at Griffith Downs, north Dublin. Suddenly, as he caught sight of me through his side window, a look of grave suspicion came over his face.

Only a few days ago, new figures revealed that Burke, who was jailed in 2005 for making false tax returns, is one of the highest-earning political pensioners in the State. It is a mark of the odd way in which we conduct our affairs that a man who was labelled corrupt by a planning tribunal continues to live on the generous state income of €103,838 per year.

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