Ministerial pensions revealed
Former government ministers from Cork received over €70,000 last year in pension payments from the Government, with only a small amount handed back to the State.
The amount of money paid out was revealed in documents released by the Department of Finance last Friday. Former ministers receive a ministerial pension on top of their pensions as public representatives. Former Fine Gael TD Bernard Allen received €11, 157.83in 2011 and returned €709 of that to the Exchequer.
Former ministers have been urged to return what they can to the Exchequer in light of the current economic situation. Former junior minister for Fianna Fáil Ned O’Keeffe received €13,902.22 and returned €1,872.
Former Tánaiste Peter Barry received €9,808.50 and former Labour minister Barry Desmond received €36,408.24 but neither returned any to the department.
Severance payments to ministers in the last government were also detailed in the documents. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin received €61,318.11 which he gave back in its entirety. Former Minister for Education, Batt O’Keeffe, received €51,856.59 while Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher received €24,205.93.
“Returning the payments made to cabinet ministers of the last government was something that Micheál Martin wanted for any TDs still remaining,” said Mr Kelleher.
“He made that decision as leader that any former cabinet minister would make that repayment but it did not apply to ministers of state, which I clarified with him. I have already paid back half of it in tax.”
Mr Kelleher also insisted that no TD has control over the amount of expenses paid to him in the month of August, regardless of whether the Dáil is sitting or not.
“It’s an aggregate system over 12 months,” said Mr Kelleher.
“We have no control over what comes in in August. It must be reconciled at the end of the year based on how many Dáil sittings you attend.”
Cork TDs in total received €63,590.75 in August, with Cork South West TD Noel Harrington, who lives in Beara, claiming the highest in the country at €5,295.84.
The full list of pensions can be found at the finance.gov.ie