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McDonald welcomes revised terms of Top Level Appointments Committee

8 November, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed the revised Top Level Appointment Committee terms announced today.

Deputy McDonald added, “It is about time this Government acknowledged the people’s anger following revelations of excessive pension pay offs and the awarding of plum jobs to top dogs in the civil service under its watch.”

Deputy McDonald said:

“In June of this year Minister Howlin announced new public sector pay caps, including a pay cap of €200,000 for future senior appointments in the public sector, including Secretaries General.

“The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill published in September introduces pension entitlement calculations based on career averaging rather than end of service pay.

“Under the new TLAC arrangements newly appointed Secretaries General will not benefit from added years on retirement. Restrictions on the special severance gratuity payment awarded to Secretaries General is welcome although in some circumstances civil service Chiefs will still receive a severance payment of €200,000.

“These measures have been promised for some time by the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform when questioned on these matters in the Dáil over the last eight months. But the question is – do these reforms go far enough? Will these measures break the culture of complacency at the very top of the civil service that has fundamentally damaged the States fortunes?

“Labour and Fine Gael’s refusal to deal with excessive pension arrangements for existing Secretaries General makes no sense what so ever. The Superannuation and Pensions Act of 1963 empowers the Government to withhold added years and the special severance gratuity payment to current Secretaries General on retirement. It is incomprehensible that he does not use his legislative powers to this end.

“Let’s not forget two more Secretaries General are due to retire before the end of February 2012. Those retiring after this date will still benefit from added years and the special severance payment, albeit slightly reduced.

“It is also deeply disappointing that Minister Howlin has not reversed his decision to appoint two Secretaries General to TLAC, the body that on behalf of the Government awards such generous pay and pension packages to their colleagues.

“Sinn Féin welcomes the Government’s long awaited acknowledgment of the peoples anger following revelations of excessive pension pay offs and awarding of plum jobs to top dogs in the civil service under its watch.

“However I have no doubt that, like Sinn Féin, the tens of thousands of families struggling with increased taxes, unemployment and reduced public service provision will be disappointed in the Government’s abject failure to once and for all end the culture of high pay and pensions for the highest echelons in the public and civil service.” ENDS

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