New law will ban severance pay for retiring ministers

Bill to ban payments will also make adjustments to party leaders’ allowances

The Bill to abolish severance pay is being sponsored by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

The Bill to abolish severance pay is being sponsored by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.


The Government will make good on its promise to end severance payments to retiring ministers this autumn, with new legislation planned to discontinue such “golden handshakes”.

A Bill to abolish severance pay is one of 30 pieces of legislation which have been promised for the autumn session of the Dáil.

Under the

scheme introduced in 1992, TDs departing senior ministerial office received a one-off payment of nearly €90,000 over a period of two years. Ministers of State received a smaller payment.

The thinking behind the payments was that they would cushion the drop in salary from being a minister to an ordinary TD. The payments were separate to ministerial pensions and to Oireachtas pensions.

The Coalition, in its programme for government, undertook to end the practice in future. The Bill, which is being sponsored by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, will also make adjustments to the party leaders’ allowances.

Another of the major Bills this autumn will facilitate further steps of the plan by the Government to introduce free GP services for all citizens at the point of delivery. The Health (General Practitioner Medical Service) Bill is one of four Bills to be published by the Department of Health.

Another will disestablish the HSE vote as part of a process of abolishing the executive. A further Bill will make it mandatory for all registered doctors to have adequate medical indemnity insurance.

Announcing the legislation yesterday, the Government chief whip Paul Kehoe said there will be a particular focus on jobs. “From the day this Government took office the issue of job creation has been at the very heart of our economic recovery agenda.”

He pointed out that the Government has published 139 Bills since taking up office in March 2011.

However, almost a third of the scheduled Bills are carryovers from the summer session – some nine of the 30 Bills contained in this programme appeared in the schedule of Bills which were planned to be published before summer.

Some of the Bills, including the Children First Bill and the Consumer and Competition Bill, have been on the legislative programme for over a year.

The Consumer and Competition Bill, which is one of the largest pieces of legislation to be published during the lifetime of the Coalition, is expected to be unveiled later this month.

The early budget will result in the Social Welfare Bill being published and debated in October rather than in December. Several of the Bills will merge or discontinue State bodies.

These include the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, the Bill to merge the Shannon Airport Authority and Shannon Development, and the Industrial Development (Forfás) Bill which will dissolve Forfás and transfer its functions to the Department of Jobs and Enterprise.