The above report in yesterday’s Sunday Tribune on Maire Geoghan Quinn’s generous Dáil pensions makes interesting reading.
Ms Geoghegan Quinn served approx. 4.5 years as a full cabinet minister and left the Dáil in 1997, having served 22 years as a TD.
In 2008 her ministerial pension amounted to €62,945 in 2008 and, when added to her TD pension, she received a total Dáil pension of €107,326 in that year.
These pensions have been paid to her since she left the Dáil in 1997, when she would have been 47. In the real world, Irish legislation bans the payment of pension benefits before reaching 50 years of age, except in cases of disability.
This case is a perfect illustration of the gold-plated arrangements our national politicians have organised for themselves, both in terms of generosity and the waiving of rules that apply to the rest of us.
In the same way, the revised expense regime for Oireachtas members still allows unvouched expense claims to be made, in direct contravention of the rules applied by the Revenue Commissioners to every business in the country.
Why do our politicians believe that they should be treated differently from the general population, for which they legislate?
It’s time that the political classes applied the same rules to themselves that apply to their constituents. What’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
Incidentally, contrast the generosity of MGQ’s Dáil pension package with that of former EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy, who served 6 years in that position.
McCreevy will qualify for a pension of €51,068 when he reaches age 65.
If Ireland Inc can put the renowned Brussels gravy-train in the halfpenny place when it comes to lining politicians pockets, it just shows the extent to which we lost the run of ourselves during the Celtic Tiger years – and it was led from the heart of Government.
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