Independent Dáil candidate and scourge of the public sector "gravy train" Senator Shane Ross would be entitled to apply for a bumper pension payday and a massively increased final pension lump sum if he gets elected as a TD, it has emerged.
This is because a generous Oireachtas pension perk means senators who become TDs can convert their existing pension entitlements to those of a TD who has served an equivalent amount of time in office.
They can do this by choosing to pay the difference between the contributions they paid into their senatorial pension over the years and what they would have paid if they had been a TD during the same period.
Bizarrely, it is understood the sums involved can be deducted from their final pension lump sum – which would itself now be significantly larger because it would be based on a TD's salary and length of service rather than that of a senator.
According to figures supplied by the Houses of the Oireachtas, a long-serving senator such as Ross with the maximum 20 years' service would be entitled to an annual pension worth approximately €35,000 a year for life, as well as a pension lump sum of around €112,000.
However, if they chose to convert their pension to that of a TD with 20 years' service, their annual pension entitlement would increase to some €50,000 a year, while their lump sum pension payment would rise by around €48,000 to €160,000.
This increased €160,000 lump sum can then be used to pay any difference in pension contributions which they owe.
Ross, who recently declared his intention to run as an independent candidate in Dublin South with a pledge to end "the culture of cronyism," said he did not know anything about the perk when asked yesterday if he intended to apply to convert his pension.
"I wasn't even aware of it," he said.