Pensions to former taoisigh outstrip EU counterparts

Irish payments exceed those of Britain, Germany, Spain and Greece

The pensions paid to former taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern rank among the highest in Europe, according to data compiled by The Irish Times .

Although the Irish payments are greatly eclipsed by the exceptional pension benefits of former French presidents, they exceed those paid to former leaders of Britain, Germany, Spain and Greece.

Mr Cowen and Mr Ahern each receive annual pensions of ¤150,163 but this will drop to ¤142,655 under a new plan to cuthigh public pensions by 5 per cent. Albert Reynolds’s new pension will be ¤141,513 and John Bruton’s will be ¤134,728.

These compare favourably with pensions of some £70,000 (¤80,274) paid to former British prime ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major. This is half David Cameron's pay but excludes security costs.


Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder is entitled to a pension of almost ¤110,000, including state and federal benefits. He works for Russian energy giant Gazprom and his pension is offset against private earnings.

Spanish figures show that former premiers José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, José Maria Aznar and Felipe Gonzalez each receive a ¤74,580 pension.

Annual pensions to Greece's former prime ministers have been cut to a ¤30,735 net from a ¤65,512 net in 2009. Former leaders George Papandreou and Kostas Karamanlis still receive MP salaries as well.

Retired presidents of France receive about ¤72,000 per annum, but also annual allowances and benefits estimated to cost up to ¤2 million each.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s entitlements are ¤22,000 per month. The French state also gives him an 11-room apartment and staff including 10 security guards.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times