Convicted former judge entitled to State pension of over €10,000 at 65
Convicted former judge Heather Perrin (60) will be entitled to a State pension of more than €10,000 annually when she reaches 65, based on existing district judge salary rate and pension scheme rules.
To qualify for a pension at the age of 65, under the judicial pensions scheme, a District Court judge must have spent at least two years in the office.
The pension is then calculated by dividing the person’s final salary by 40 and multiplying it by the number of years’ service in the post.
They are also entitled to a lump sum payment equal to three-fortieths of salary.
Based on the gross salary of District Court judges this means Perrin, who was appointed as a District Court judge on February 12th, 2009, and who resigned on Monday, November 26th, 2012, would be entitled to a lump sum of €10,209 on retirement and a further pension payment of €10,209 annually.
A District Court judge’s gross salary is €136,124 – a figure that was set following a reduction in judicial salaries applied after the referendum on judges’ pay in 2011.
District Court judges have an effective rate of pay of €123,881 per annum when a pension-related deduction is taken into account.
Although Perrin has been on sick leave since 2010, she continued to receive her salary up until her resignation on Monday. Under the Constitution the pension entitlements of a judge are regulated by law which is the responsibility of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. There is no legal provision for these pensions to be withheld or refused.
The Department of Public Administration and Reform administers the judiciary pension schemes. Under the scheme a pension application is made by the judge to the Department of Justice and Equality, which requests the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to arrange the pension and lump sum payment with the Office of the Paymaster General.
Following Perrin’s sentencing yesterday Minister for Justice Alan Shatter revealed that he and Attorney General Máire Whelan had considered initiating an impeachment process against the judge.
However, he said this was now unnecessary following her resignation.
Mr Shatter said it was of the utmost importance that a client can trust a solicitor acting on his or her behalf.
“Members of the legal profession are in a particular position of trust and to ensure confidence in the profession all solicitors must honestly implement instructions received and at all times act in an appropriate manner. This obligation of course also attaches to any member of the legal profession who aspires to hold judicial office.
“The conviction last week of Heather Perrin . . . and her sentencing today starkly illustrates the importance of the highest standards of honesty being observed. The victims in this case are to be greatly commended for their fortitude in seeing this difficult and distressing criminal prosecution through to conviction.”
*This article was amended on December 10th, 2012 to correct a factual error.