TDs and Senators get six-figure lump sums

 

FIFTY-FIVE TDs and Senators who retired after the 2011 general election each received lump sums in excess of €100,000 from the Oireachtas.

Records released through a Freedom of Information request, and posted on the website thestory.ie, show many longer-serving TDs received a tax-free lump sum in excess of €150,000 from the Oireachtas having served as TDs and senators.

The figure does not comprise the full pension entitlement for those who were also ministers. Ministerial pensions, also generous, are paid separately by the Department of Finance. Among those receiving more than €150,000 were former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen; former tánaistí Mary Coughlan and Mary Harney; and ministers Batt O’Keeffe, Dick Roche, Noel Dempsey and Dermot Ahern.

Ivor Callely, the former Fianna Fáil TD and senator who was at the centre of a row over claiming travel expenses from west Cork, received a tax-free lump sum of €161,000. Several long-serving Fine Gael and Labour TDs who retired, including Jim O’Keeffe, Bernard Allen and Brian O’Shea, also received similar sums upon retiring from the Oireachtas.

The records show the pensions of several former TDs who have been the subject of criticism by the planning and Moriarty tribunals have remained unaffected. They include former Kerry North TD Denis Foley, former Dublin North politician GV Wright and former EU commissioner Pádraig Flynn.

The records show Mr Flynn received a pension of a little over €39,000 from the Oireachtas in 2011. He is also entitled to a separate ministerial pension and also a pension from the EU Commission.

The document disclosed that eight serving or retired politicians have forgone Dáil pensions. They are: President Michael D Higgins; EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn; former senator Maurice Manning; former Green TD Ciarán Cuffe; MEPs Marian Harkin and Gay Mitchell; former MEP Proinsias De Rossa; and former Labour TD Eithne FitzGerald.

Three MEPs who are former TDs have continued to draw Oireachtas pensions in addition to their MEP salaries paid by the European Parliament. They are Liam Aylward and Pat the Cope Gallagher of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s Jim Higgins. All three receive annual Oireachtas pensions worth about €50,000.