Pensions of Ireland’s ‘elite’ revealed
Pensions of Ireland’s ‘elite’ revealed


Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has described the figures for the top public sector pensions as “obscene”.

In a reply to a written parliamentary question, Doherty was informed that five hundred public sector pension earners have pensions of more than 100,000 euro each, costing the state an estimated 50 euro million annually.

Mr Doherty released the figures as it emerged that 2012 legislation to break the link between public sector pay increases and public sector pensions was only implemented for new recruits.

The legislation was intended to ensure pensions would increase in line with the cost of living rather than with the cost of public sector salary increases which is higher.

But 300,000 public sector employees will receive bigger pensions because the law was not fully implemented.

The only people for whom the change applies are the 54,000 teachers, nurses, gardai and public servants who were recruited since 2012 on lower wages and conditions.

Mr Doherty said “if nothing else the figures gives a lie to the idea that we all suffered equally or that even the very top need a break. They do not. They are still protected and getting huge pensions each year.”

He said it was “especially obscene as the economy struggles with low pay and the scars of austerity that the top few public sector pensioners are reaping such big payments; presumably those 500 include many former politicians whose actions cost the Irish people so much”.

He said “given the size of the country, an informed source could almost name the individuals costing such a huge sum of money each year”.

Figures published separately by the Department of Finance this week confirmed that former ministers and attorneys general enjoy some of the highest pensions in the state.

Former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson and ex-taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen received the largest State pensions paid to ex-office holders last year. Ms McAleese received a pension of 137,749 euro in 2015. Ms Robinson was paid 121,158 euro. Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen received pensions of [euro]83,918 as officeholders.

The total cost of ministerial pensions last year was 4.6 million euro, while the total cost of pensions and retirement lump sums paid to former judges was 8.5 million euro.

Mr Doherty concluded: “What impact would that [euro]50 million have if spent on recruiting guards or nurses? These are political choices ultimately.”

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