Mary O'Rourke: waived

THE cabinet will discuss legislation on Tuesday to abolish ministerial pensions for serving politicians with effect from the next general election.

A move to reduce the ministerial pension for the period between now and the next election is also likely to be dealt with.

No details were available on what level of decrease might be agreed on to cover the remainder of the Dáil. However, the initial plan of the government in its budget last month was for a system whereby ex-ministers still in the Oireachtas would get a quarter of their entitlement up to their retirement from politics, while ex-taoisigh would get half their pension. This may prove to be the benchmark used for the period up to the next general election.

Last Friday was the closing date for submissions from those affected to the Department of Finance on the issue of ministerial pensions for serving Oireachtas members. It is understood there were a "significant number" of responses.

The government had received legal advice that it would have to undertake such a consultation process with those affected before making any move to reduce their ministerial pensions.

A number of politicians, including Mary O'Rourke, have already waived their right to the pension while they remain in the Dáil, while others have signalled they will await the outcome of the government's deliberations.

The proposed legislation will also scrap any future awarding of long-service increments for TDs. Despite the controversy over the matter, department sources say there was never any question of taking the long-service increment from those who had already qualified for it, as there would be enormous legal difficulties about doing this.