Secretaries claim MEPs failed to submit claims for pensions
The president of the High Court is to consider information from the European Parliament in a dispute over whether two former MEPs failed to submit allowance claims for their secretaries, resulting in their being left without pensions.
The case, in which retired assistants Kathleen Egan and Margaret Hackett claim they were left only with Irish State pensions of about €800 per month, has been described by a European court judge as “an allegation of epic fraud”, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns heard yesterday.
Ms Egan and Ms Hackett say they worked for former Fianna Fáil MEPs James Fitzsimons and Liam Hyland, who retired in 2004. Ms Egan (61), Caucestown, Athboy, Co Meath, and Ms Hackett (66), Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, claim they were employed as Dáil secretaries and MEP assistants to Mr Fitzsimons and Mr Hyland respectively.
Solicitors for the women had sought information from the European Parliament related to their claims that Mr Fitzsimons and Mr Hyland had applied for secretarial allowances for two other persons, whom they named as their MEP assistants.
Last May, Mr Justice Kearns said he had received information from the European Parliament concerning these claims.
He adjourned the matter until yesterday when, after submissions from both sides, he said he would read the information and hear further submissions, then consider the application by the defendants to strike out the case.