Eleven of the country's 13 MEPs have availed of a controversial second EU pension fund for elected members which has run a reported deficit of some €120m due to the downturn in the economy.
Despite moves by the EU parliament last week to maintain the liquidity of the fund, critics have claimed that, for legal reasons, the taxpayer could have no option but to bail it out.
The Sunday Tribune has established that all four of the serving Fianna Fáil MEPs, four out of the five current Fine Gael MEPs, Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa and two independent MEPs, Marian Harkin and Kathy Sinnott, have contributed to the pension fund.
Most MEPs already have access to a pension scheme in their member states, meaning payments from the troubled EU parliament scheme are in addition to these other entitlements. Only Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald and Fine Gael's Colm Burke are not members of the additional pension scheme.
A spokesman for the Fianna Fáil group of MEPs confirmed all of its members – Sean O'Neachtain, Eoin Ryan, Brian Crowley and Liam Aylward – contribute to the EU parliament's pension fund.
Similarly, Fine Gael's Jim Higgins, Avril Doyle, Gay Mitchell and Mairead McGuinness also take part in the fund.
The EU parliament's bureau this week accepted proposals aimed at ensuring taxpayers are not asked to cover the fund's deficit.