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Pension reform must tackle senior civil/public servants’ excessive high pay and pensions – McDonald

29 September, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD today welcomed the publication of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill. However the Deputy described the Government’s refusal to grab the bulls by the horns and address high pension payments retrospectively as deeply disappointing.

Ms McDonald said:

“Ending the culture of high pay and pensions across the civil and public sector is a priority. For far too long failure at the top has been rewarded with big bucks, bonanza pension pay-outs and early retirement. Currently 646 civil servants earn between €100,000 and €250,000 yet the Government refuses to lift the recruitment embargo on frontline workers many of whom would be in receipt of the average wage.

“Calculating civil and public sector pensions on a career average basis as oppose to the current practice of final pay is a positive step. Linking pensions to the Consumer Price Index is a real world solution to ensure retired workers can live comfortably in their later years. This is something Sinn Féin would like to see applied to the State pension.

“Of course the devil will be in the detail. Ending the practice of added years and special severance gratuity payments for senior civil servants has been promised by the Government, and it must end absolutely. Excessive lump sum payments on retirement are not acceptable. There also needs to be a real world cap on pay and pension payments.

“There is a bottom line on top level pay and pension – the State simple cannot afford to pay it. Ministers appear not to understand that a Government in hock to the IMF simply cannot justify shelling out €249,014 to the President, €180,000 to Department Secretary General’s or indeed a whopping €200,000 to the Taoiseach.

“Labour and Fine Gaels refusal to grab the bulls by the horn and address high pension payments retrospectively is deeply disappointing. If such payments are not dealt with via the current pension reform proposals then Government must do so through taxation.” ENDS

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