Dermot Ahern (left) and Noel Dempsey: to receive over €300,000 each

THE TWO cabinet ministers and 14 TDs who will not contest the next election will be paid €3.8m in the first year after their retirements, or an average of €237,327.

Cabinet ministers Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey are among a growing number of Fianna Fáil TDs who have signalled their intentions not to seek re-election.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD MJ Nolan, Cavan/Monaghan TD Rory O'Hanlon, Tom Kitt from Dublin South, Sean Ardagh from Dublin South-Central, and Mayo's Beverley Flynn are all retiring. Donegal North-East TD Dr Jim McDaid has already left the Dáil.

The retirements have not been confined to Fianna Fáil, with Labour's Dublin South- Central TD Mary Upton, Wicklow TD Liz McManus and veteran Galway West TD and likely presidential candidate Michael D Higgins all retiring at the end of the current Dáil term.

In Fine Gael, Cavan/Monaghan TD Seymour Crawford, Cork South-West TD PJ Sheehan, Laois/Offaly TD Olwyn Enright, and Galway East TD Paul Connaughton are all standing down, as is independent TD for Kerry South Jackie Healy-Rae.

Under the generous pension system, all retiring TDs and ministers receive a termination allowance which is equivalent to two months' salary. For TDs, this is worth €16,404 immediately on retirement. They also receive an additional €36,906 over the following six months in a sliding scale of their salary.

After the six months has elapsed, they receive between €20,000 and €32,000 (based on their service) until their termination payment runs out. When the termination payments have finished, the retired TDs receive a tax-free pension lump sum of €147,636.

This means each retiring TD is in line for a payout in the region of €225,946.

Given that 14 TDs have already declared their intentions to resign, the approximate combined cost to the exchequer will be €3,163,244. Adding in the ministers' windfalls, the total comes to €3,797,244.

Justice minister Dermot Ahern will be paid €318,000 in the first year after his retirement. This is comprised of a pension of €140,861, an initial tax-free sum of €177,636 and an annual pension worth €128,291 for the rest of his life.

Similarly, Noel Dempsey stands to receive payments of over €316,000, which include a tax-free pension lump sum of €159,000, initial termination payments of €56,900 over the first six months, €29,500 over the second six months and €70,730 in graduated ministerial payments. After the first year, he will receive a combined TD and ministerial pension of around €134,000.