Former tánaiste Ray MacSharry defends politicians’ pensions

Ex- FF minister says he is in receipt of ‘quite a number’ of payments in new interview

Former Fianna Fáil tánaiste Ray MacSharry has said he has "quite a number" of pensions and he does not begrudge retired politicians the money they are paid.

Mr MacSharry, who served as a minister for finance and an EU commissioner during a 30-year career in politics, was in receipt of a State pension just in excess of €41,000 as of 2014.

He also has a separate "small" income from Europe.

In an interview on Saturday, he was asked how many pensions he was currently receiving.


“Oh quite a number. I am doing fine. I am very happy,” he said.

“But I can say this. I would not begrudge the Taoiseach, the Ministers, or all the TDs and Senators the monies they are getting because let’s face facts.

“The fact is that every TD . . . there is something going on in all the parishes in his or her constituency, the first person asked to support the £100 raffle or the £50 raffle is the TD.”

Speaking on the Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio 1, Mr MacSharry said politicians paid taxes on their salaries.

“And what they have left, they have to live,” he said.

Mr MacSharry was also questioned on the issue of the Ansbacher accounts.

Mr MacSharry was named as an Ansbacher account holder under Dáil privilege by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald in 2015, following claims in the disputed “Ansbacher dossier” that former ministers had used offshore accounts to evade tax.

Mr MacSharry had subsequently instructed his lawyers to write to the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) seeking access to the dossier in question.

"I didn't know ever about Ansbacher accounts. I don't know really where the Cayman Islands are," he said.

“I can say from my point of view it was rubbish and untrue. And I’ll say to Deputy Mary Lou MacDonald or anybody else that if they can find an account associated in any way with me, anywhere in the world, I’ll gladly give it to charity,” he said. “I know it doesn’t exist.”


Mr MacSharry said there was a broader issue of innuendo and falsities being applied to those in public life.

“Obviously there are always people running around making up stories and rumour and gossip and innuendo becomes established as fact . . . particularly in relation to public figures,” he said.

“Those who know the people concerned know that most of that rumour, gossip and innuendo is not fact, it’s nothing but lies.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times