13 former judges receive pensions of over €100,000


THIRTEEN FORMER Supreme Court and High Court judges are in receipt of pensions worth more than €100,000 a year, according to new figures.

Some 22 retired judges are claiming public service pensions costing over €2.3 million a year, according to Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

The largest pensions are payable to former Supreme Court judges Mr Justice Ronan Keane and Mr Justice Tom Finlay, who each receive €133,443 a year, according to the figures supplied by the Minister to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

Another Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Anthony Hederman, gets a pension worth €60,611 in respect of his service as attorney general from 1977 to 1981 in addition to his judge’s pension of €92,195. His total pension package is therefore €152,806.

A serving member of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice John Murray, receives a €67,686 pension in respect of his service as a former attorney general in 1982 and from 1987-91.

Mr Justice Murray (68) also receives a pension worth up to an estimated €70,000 in respect of eight years’ service on the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. This figure is calculated on the basis of information provided by the court, which says former judges’ pensions accrue at the rate of 4.5 per cent of salary per year of service. However, his pension would be smaller if he began taking it at the age of 60, instead of the normal pensionable age of 65.

As a Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Murray would normally be paid €257,872. However, according to the Department of Justice, as a former chief justice – he stepped down this year – he is entitled to continue receiving the salary for that post, which is €295,916. His combined salary and pensions therefore amount to about €432,000.

Mr Justice Murray’s salary, along with that of other judges, will be cut shortly when legislation is passed in line with the recent referendum on judges’ pay.

Mr Adams said yesterday the Government should be looking at introducing tax measures to target those on “exorbitant” pensions, especially those still in employment. “It should be seriously examining this, rather than focusing attention on cutting child benefit and increasing VAT rates, measures which will hit the poorest hardest.”

On the High Court, the largest pension of €124,142 is paid to both Mr Justice Ricky Johnson and Mr Justice Fred Morris. The former chairman of the planning tribunal, Mr Justice Feargus Flood, is on a pension of €110,206, as is Mr Justice Robert Barr, while two other retired members, Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins and Mr Justice Matthew Smith, get €8.80 less than this.

Mr Justice Cyril Kelly, who also resigned over the Sheedy affair, receives a pension worth €76,633.

High Court Judges’ Pensions

Robert Barr €110,206

Feargus Flood €110,206

Richard Johnson €124,142

Cyril Kelly €76,633

Bryan McMahon €85,273

Frederick Morris €124,142

Kevin O Higgins €110,195

Philip O Sullivan €68,152

Matthew Smith €110,195

Thomas Smyth €81,910


Supreme Court Judges’ Pensions

A J Hederman €92,195

Catherine McGuinness €97,233

Donal Barrington €108,497

Francis Murphy €116,703

Frank Griffin €116,703

Hugh Geoghegan €116,703

Hugh O Flaherty €98,836

John Blayney €83,889

Brian McCracken €86,545

Kevin Lynch €116,703

T A Finlay €133,443

Ronan Keane €113,443