It’s 7.45pm. Today was like looking at at one of those elaborate Japanese domino games. One domino is tipped over and, WHAM, BAM, it sets off a torrent.
As of 24 hours ago there were 21 former ministers still retaining their pensions.
Tonight, there are only seven: all from Fianna Fail. They are Noel Treacy, Ned O’Keeffe, Jim McDaid, Terry Leyden, Ivor Callely, Liam Aywlard and Pat the Cope Gallagher.
Actually, the two MEPs also benefit from a Dáil pension. So they get their European salary plus their Dail pension plus their ministerial pension. It’s a big chunck of change. Liam Ayward, for example, gets a €12,000 ministerial pension plus €52,000 from his Oireachtas pension. That’s in addition to his MEP’s salary of over €90,000.
I’ve written a long opinion piece on this which will be in tomorrow’s paper.
But a few net points for now.
All of those who succumbed to pressure did it quicky, from MGQ to Bertie. They knew that, a la Karl Rove, when you are explaining you are losing.
The seven hold-outs in Fianna Fail (as of now) will have to give it up or will get a skinful of public approbrium that will never go away.
What is it with Brian Cowen? His caution and non-commitment are becoming problematic. He seems unable to express a view on anything any more. He has even become truculent with reporters in his efforts NOT to express an opinion. It’s extraordinary.
The anti-politics sentiment isn’t abating. Labour and the smaller parties are trying to take advantage of it, as Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are doing in Britain. Of course, they are all political insiders/establishment. But the trick is to package yourself a little differently, make the insiders look like outsiders.
And politicians have long enjoyed their fair share of perks in the name of being involved in a precarious profession. Most have now been stripped away. They are really feeling the pain. Of course, many out there want them to feel way way more. I suspect it’s near enough to a majority view.