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Minister Howlin defends big buck pension pay-outs to civil service chiefs

11 October, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Government to step up and tackle excessive high pay and pensions amongst the highest ranks of the civil and public service.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Dermot McCarthy received a pension pay-off of €713,000 in the summer of this year. This bumper pension pot will cost the State somewhere in the region of €6 million euro and works out as an average of €3,000 per week additional pay to the former Secretary General who also worked alongside former Taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern.

“Mr McCarthy received a special severance gratuity payment of €142,670. In addition the former Secretary General received his full pension at age 57 without any actuarial reduction despite not reaching the standard pension entitlement age.

“Every time I raise this matter with Minister Howlin he invokes the Top Level Appointments Committee, TLAC. What the Minister studiously ignores is his powers under legislation, specifically, the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963, to rescind such payments and added years to the most senior echelons of the public service.

“TLAC cannot overrule the law of the land. I am mindful that two more Secretary Generals are due to retire over the coming months. Despite all the rhetoric around change and transparency Minister Howlin has failed to use his discretion to stop special severance payments, to put a halt to the award of additional years and to end the disgrace of these outrageous payments to top civil servant.” ENDS

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