We’re so soft

He's the guy who found no evidence Ray Burke was bent. Now he gets €318k pension


ANGER grew today at the size of the pension pay-off for Dail quitter, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.

He will get a pension pay out of €318k next year - as more of his FF colleagues also consider following suit and jumping ship.

One party source said: "The rats are fleeing the sinking ship. It's inevitable that more will step down in the coming weeks."

It is now widely anticipated that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Health Minister Mary Harney are preparing to confirm that they will leave politics next year.

Some within Fianna Fail are also worried that big hitters like Brian Lenihan and Noel Dempsey might not be interested in languishing on the Opposition benches, while older TDs like Mary O'Rourke are expected to retire.

Their fat Ministerial will far outstrip the backbench TD salaries they would get in the next Dail.

Ahern (55) will get a golden handshake worth €318,000.

It far dwarfs the basic TD salary of €92,672 which is likely to be reduced further in the Budget on December 7.

Included in Mr Ahern's package is an annual ministerial pension of €75,000, a TD's pension of €54,000, a pension lump sum of €162,000 and a termination lump sum of €17,000.


Dragon's Den star and businessman Sean Gallagher is being widely tipped to take over from Mr Ahern.

Yesterday, the Justice Minister outlined a series of reasons for his resignation including health problems and the impact of protests outside his family home.

"I always regarded my house as my oasis. I'm prepared to take all the brickbats in politics but when it starts to interfere with your family's enjoyment - they're not able to put up with things," he said.

Those comments in particular have turned attention on Noel Dempsey, whose offices in Trim were targeted by vandals last week.

A late-night attack saw windows in the office smash and the word "tratiors" (sic) scrawled on the front.

Mr Dempsey has signalled that he does intend to run again. Both Mr Ahern and Mr Dempsey were once seen as future leaders of Fianna Fail, but their popularity has faded in recent times.

Any campaign by Mr Ahern for the top job would also have been wrought with difficulty because of his colourful past.

His image as a 'boot boy' was reinforced during his tenure as Minister for Justice but he will also be remembered as the senior party figure who went "up every tree in north Dublin" to compile a report on allegations against Ray Burke.

Mr Burke resigned in disgrace a year later.