Friday 23 March 2018

Cost of ministers' pensions exposed

EVERYBODY remembers how September 2008 ended -- with the €400bn guarantee that the Government hoped would avert the collapse of the banking system. Not everybody remembers how the month began.

It began with a pay rise for top public servants, recommended by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector. Very convenient, that, for ministers and Dail deputies, who felt then and since that they could not be accused of greedily awarding themselves higher salaries but could hide behind an independent body.

They are greatly mistaken in that opinion, and the controversy over the pensions of Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey should have brought this home to them. The facts were brought into sharper focus yesterday by a calculation from a firm of pensions experts, the Independent Trustee Company (ITC). The pension fund for each of these persons comes to about €6.8m. To build up such a fund, a private sector worker would need to make contributions of more than €35,000 a month.

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