Former ministers among 19 TDs retiring from Dáil

More than €14 million set aside to cover TDs’ and Senators’ pensions and associated costs

Former Labour Party leaders (from left) Ruairí Quinn (led party from 1997 to 2002), Eamon Gilmore (2007-2014) and Pat Rabbitte (2002-2007): None are seeking re-election in 2016. File photographs: The Irish Times

Former Labour Party leaders (from left) Ruairí Quinn (led party from 1997 to 2002), Eamon Gilmore (2007-2014) and Pat Rabbitte (2002-2007): None are seeking re-election in 2016. File photographs: The Irish Times

 

Nineteen TDs from the 31st Dáil, including several former ministers, have announced they will not stand for re-election later this month.

Two Senators have confirmed they will not return to the Upper House. They leave the Oireachtas this week with four of the Taoiseach’s nominees who are not contesting the Seanad election.

The Oireachtas said on Wednesday that more than €14 million had been set aside to cover the pension and associated costs of the TDs and Senators expected to step down ahead of this election.

Former Labour party leader Pat Rabbitte announced last summer that after 26 years as a TD he would not be seeking re-election in Dublin South West in the 2016 general election.

Eamon Gilmore and Ruairí Quinn, also former leaders of the party, will not run in the February 26th general election either.

Other TDs stepping down include Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell, Fianna Fáil’s Séamus Kirk, and Sandra McLellan of Sinn Féin.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, who announced in 2014 he would not stand in the next general election, has said he will continue to assist activists in Dublin West.

Two Senators have confirmed they are retiring from the Upper House: Feargal Quinn (Ind), a Senator since 1993 on the NUI panel; and Jim Walsh (FF), a Senator since 1997 on the agriculture panel.

Some 20 Senators are running for the Dáil, including Paul Bradford (Renua, Cork East), Thomas Byrne (FF, Louth), Fidelma Healy-Eames (Ind, Galway West) and Susan O’Keeffe (Lab, Sligo-Leitrim).

Estimated figure

A spokesman for the Oireachtas confirmed an estimated figure of €14.325 million had been included for pension costs in the 2016 Statement of Estimates for the Houses of the Oireachtas Service.

TDs and Senators who are stepping down will be entitled to receive termination payments, a pension and a lump sum when they retire or fail to get elected.

Termination payments operate in the same way as redundancy payments to provide a financial cushion should an Oireachtas member lose his or her seat. The payments reflect the number of years of continuous service.

A TD’s or Senator’s basic pension is calculated by dividing his or her salary by 40 and multiplying it by the number of years they have served in the Dáil/Seanad, capped at 20 years.

TDs and Senators are also entitled to a once-off pension lump sum of three times their annual pension.

For example, a TD to which the 20-year cap applies would receive €46,336 annually and a lump sum of €139,008 on retirement.

On top of this, TD and Senators who have served more than six months in the Oireachtas are also entitled to a termination lump sum equal to two months’ salary (for a TD, this sum is currently €15,445).

If TDs/Senators have served for longer than three years they are also entitled to up to 12 monthly payments based on their length of service (for a TD the maximum payment total over 12 months is €57,920).

Only after these payments end do they begin to get an annual pension.

Ministerial positions attract a pension entitlement over and above that earned by a TD or Senator.

To receive this pension entitlement, a TD/Senator has to have served for at least two years in one of these offices.

TDs retiring from the Dáil:

Labour:

Pat Rabbitte

Ruairí Quinn

Eamon Gilmore

Jack Wall

Michael Conaghan

Sean Kenny

Robert Dowds

Fine Gael:

Olivia Mitchell

Dinny McGinley

Dan Neville

Frank Feighan

Liam Twomey

Brian Walsh

Fianna Fáil:

Seamus Kirk

John Browne

Michael Kitt

Sinn Féin:

Michael Colreavy

Sandra McLellan

Socialist Party:

Joe Higgins

Senators retiring from the Upper House:

Feargal Quinn (Ind)

Jim Walsh (FF)

Taoiseach’s nominees who are not contesting the Seanad election:

Fiach Mac Conghail

Mary Ann O’Brien

Marie-Louise O’Donnell

Jillian van Turnhout

Senators who are running for the Dáil:

Paul Bradford (Renua, Cork East)

Thomas Byrne (FF, Louth)

David Cullinane (SF, Waterford)

Michael D’Arcy (FG, Wexford)

Fidelma Healy-Eames (Ind, Galway West)

James Heffernan (Soc Dems, Limerick)

Lorraine Higgins (Lab, Galway East)

John Kelly (Lab, Roscommon-Galway)

Marc Mac Sharry (FF, Sligo-Leitrim)

Mary Moran (Lab, Louth)

Hildegarde Naughten (FG, Galway West)

Catherine Noone (FG, Dublin West)

Darragh O’Brien (FF, Dublin North)

Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (SF, Galway West)

Susan O’Keeffe (Lab, Sligo-Leitrim)

Averil Power (Ind, Dublin Bay North)

Kathryn Reilly (SF, Cavan-Monaghan)

John Whelan (Lab, Laois)

Mary White (FF, Dublin Rathdown)

Katherine Zappone (Ind, Dublin South-West)