| 17.4°C Dublin

'Super pension' cuts a joke after Cowen and Ahern lose just €80pw

BERTIE Ahern and Brian Cowen are only down €80 a week after the Government's so-called "super pension" cuts.

The former Taoisigh are unlikely to lose much sleep about the much heralded tax on pensions over €100,000.

Instead, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin found himself under fire today - accused of pushing through a "pathetic" and "laughable" levy on fat cat pensions.

It was announced that the pensions of former Taoisigh, supreme court judges and a few dozens more retired public servants will be subject to the new levy, which will save the taxpayer just €400,000 a year.

The minister proclaimed in the Dail that "those with the broadest shoulders must bear the greatest burden".

However, despite their appalling handling of the economy, former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen are set to lose just €80 per week.

Other ministers that were in charge as the country plunged into recession will surely fail to even recognise that their pensions were touched at all.

Disgraced former politician Ray Burke will lose the price of a pint a week from his €104,000 pension.

Former Health Minister Mary Harney will be forced to struggle with a pension cut of 1.8pc - reducing her taxpayer-funded bounty to €127,000 per year.


And the two ministers who infamously denied that Ireland was facing into a humiliating bailout - Noel Dempsey and Dermot Ahern - will both continue to receive a pension just shy of €118,000.

The reduction comes at the same time as Social Protection Minister Joan Burton refused to assure families that their child benefit payments would remain intact in the Budget.

The Government last night rushed through legislation in the Dail that will impose an 8pc reduction on pension pots over €100,000. The Attorney General advised the Government that the move would spare the state from legal action from those hit. And speaking today, Mr Howlin admitted that the Government "needs to go further".

"We're trying to undo decades of prolific pay and pension provisions. We need to go further and we're looking at ways at doing that over time."

However, the levy was today described as "highly offensive" and an "appalling attempt" to save the taxpayer money.

People Before Profit TD Joan Collins told the Herald that the Government "squandered a huge opportunity".

"This is one of the the most infuriating things I've seen since being in the Dail. Communities are bracing themselves are savage Budget measures which look set to include child benefit cuts. And the Government has the cheek to take measly amounts from people who won't even notice.

"No pension should be above €100,000. People are disgusted today and rightfully so."

And Independent TD for Dublin North Central Finian McGrath described the measure as "pathetic".

"For people to regain trust in the political system, they need proper leadership. Taking €80 per week from Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern is pathetic."