Maynooth head retired with State pension


Monsignour Michael Ledwith, former president of the national seminary at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, is in receipt of a State pension, said to be in five figures.

The monsignor, a former professor of Dogmatic Theology at St Patrick's, is believed to live on the west coast of the US, where he teaches part-time with the New Age Ramtha School of Enlightenment. It is based in Monterey, California.

He left office prematurely in June 1994, six months before his 10-year tenure as president of the seminary was due to end. He was also head of the National University of Ireland sector at Maynooth.

The trustees of the college, who have persistently refused to answer media queries concerning the circumstances surrounding Mgr Ledwith's 1994 departure, are Ireland's most senior bishops, and in 1994 included both Cardinal Desmond Connell and Cardinal Cahal Daly. Cardinal Connell remains a trustee. Cardinal Daly has retired.

In the two months between the announcement of the monsignor's resignation in April 1994 and his departure in June the bishops decided to separate the positions he held.

They have remained separate since.

According to a statement from the Department of Education and Science following queries from The Irish Times: "The Department's approval was sought and conveyed for the salary level and broad pension arrangements to attach to the post of Master of the recognised College of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, in June 1994, following the trustees' decision to provide for a greater degree of autonomy for the national university sector within the college.

"This involved the creation of the post of master to be the executive head of the recognised college of the NUI. The president's post was amended to be the executive head of the sectors of the college which comprise the seminary and the pontifical university and the titular head of the sector of the college which comprises the recognised college of the NUI.

"Dr Michael Ledwith was a member of the funded college pension plan and is entitled to benefits in accordance with the rules of the plan administered by Irish Pensions Trust, now Mercer," it said.

The Department considered it "inappropriate" to give details of the monsignor's pension arrangements and said that, where reasons for Dr Ledwith's premature departure were concerned, there was "no record of any communication between the trustees and the Department of Education and Science regarding the former president's retirement".