Lump-sum payoffs and pensions for the 32 TDs and ministers who are retiring next month will cost the exchequer over €10m during the next couple of years.
Lump-sum payments, which cover a bewildering array of staggered termination payments over the 12 months after they leave office, as well as payoffs worth 1.5 times' salary, come to €8.4m in total while pension costs amount to over €2m a year.
And the bill for what has been the biggest exodus of politicians so far does not include the cost of the large number of TDs and ministers who will lose their seats in the forthcoming election.
Few would deny our politicians the right to a pension, particularly given the precarious nature of the job, but the gold-plated pension benefits for politicians – many of them introduced by former finance minister Charlie McCreevy in the early 1990s – are more than twice those of the standard public-service pension scheme.
A civil servant on an average of €50,000 will receive a pension of half their salary or €25,000 a year and a gratuity of 1.5 times' salary, or €75,000, but this is after 40 years' service.
A TD only has to put in a maximum of 20 years' service to secure a full pension worth half their salary and a lump sum of 1.5 times' their salary. Additional payments for the many TDs on the Dáil committees, which attract payments of around €10,000 a year, also count towards pension. Also, time served as a senator can be used to beef up service in order to maximise a pension.
In addition, TDs get what are called termination payments, which pays them a reduced monthly salary over 12 months before their pension kicks in.
The cabinet and ministers of state enjoy even better pension terms. They are deemed office holders and are paid office holders' allowance on top of their TDs' salary. For example, Brian Cowen's salary of €228,466 is made up of his TD's salary of €92,672 plus a Taoiseach's allowance of €135,794.
Office holders get additional pension benefits related to their allowance. But they can secure a maximum pension worth 60% of salary, as opposed to the norm of 50%, after just 10 years' service in the job.
Recently, a report on the cost of public-service pensions by the comptroller and auditor general estimated that funding this level of pension benefit would require contributions worth a massive 70% of salary. But ministers contribute just short of 9% of their salary, leaving the exchequer to fund the balance of 61%. By contrast, funding a civil servant's pension requires over 22% of salary, of which over 9% is provided by the civil servant, with 13% funded by the exchequer.
Dermot Ahern, 24 years' service, €328,469 lump sum; €111,120 pension from 2012 on
Noel Dempsey, 24 years' service, €328,469 lump sum; €111,120 pension
Tony Killeen, 19 years' service, €276,163 lump sum; €68,984 pension
Batt O'Keeffe, 21 years' service, €328,469 lump sum; €94,366 pension
Michael Finneran, 9 years' service, €283,429 lump sum; €48,504 pension
Sean Ardagh, 14 years' service, €186,219 lump sum; €38,702 pension
Bertie Ahern, 34 years' service, €388,855 lump sum; €155,892 pension
Noel Ahern, 19 years' service, €268,403 lump sum; €73,008 pension
Jimmy Devins, 9 years' service, €58,800 lump sum; €21,573 pension
Beverley Flynn, 14 years' service, €186,219 lump sum; €33,947 pension
Tom Kitt, 24 years' service, €283,429 lump sum; €77,743 pension
MJ Nolan, 24 years' service, €229,855 lump sum; €48,492 pension
Rory O'Hanlon, 34 years' service, €328,469 lump sum; €111,119 pension
Ned O'Keeffe, 29 years' service, €263,429 lump sum; €63,600 pension
Noel Treacy, 29 years' service, €263,429 lump sum; €77,743 pension
Mary Wallace, 21 years' service, €263,429 lump sum; €72,868 pension
Michael Woods, 34 years' service, €328,469 lump sum; €111,120 pension
Bernard Allen, 30 years' service, €273,941 lump sum; €64,586 pension
Ulick Burke, 9 years' service, €186,219 lump sum; €33,947 pension
Paul Connaughton, 30 years' service, €263,432 lump sum; €66,119 pension
Seymour Crawford, 19 years' service, €222,508 lump sum; €46,070 pension
Olwyn Enright, 9 years' service, €129,800 lump sum; €22,542 pension
Padraic McCormack, 22 years' service, €229,863 lump sum; €48,495 pension
Jim O'Keeffe, 34 years' service, €263,438 lump sum; €68,639 pension
PJ Sheehan, 25 years' service, €229,864 lump sum; €49,345 pension
Michael D Higgins, 25 years' service, €328,478 lump sum; €80,876 pension
Brian O'Shea, 22 years' service, €263,438 lump sum; €63,603 pension
Liz McManus, 19 years' service, €280,618 lump sum; €59,523 pension
Mary Upton, 11 years' service, €151,072 lump sum; €26,672 pension
Arthur Morgan, 9 years' service, €129,800 lump sum; €22,542 pension
Mary Harney, 30 years' service, €343,087 lump sum; €118,837 pension
Jackie Healy-Rae, 24 years' service, €186,219 lump sum; €33,947 pension
TOTAL €8,075,781 (lump sum payments) €2,125,644 (pensions per annum)
*Some former ministers such as Michael D Higgins, Michael Woods and Bertie Ahern may have already received severance payments and/or pensions for their time in office. The above figures include all amounts received
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I thought the country was broke?????