Ó Caoláin questions spending on services for former Taoisigh
In a reply to a Dáil Question from Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen has revealed that his Department is paying salaries to secretarial assistants employed by four former Taoisigh, including sitting Deputy Bertie Ahern. Deputy Ó Caoláin called for a review of this and other expenditure on former Taoisigh.
“The Department of the Taoiseach is paying the salaries of secretarial assistants for four former Taoisigh. This includes a sitting Deputy, Bertie Ahern who, as Taoiseach, introduced the scheme.
“As a TD, Bertie Ahern is already entitled to salaries for a parliamentary assistant and a secretarial assistant. But according to the Taoiseach’s reply, Deputy Ahern also benefits from the former Taoisigh scheme by having the salaries of two secretarial assistants paid for up to five years after his retirement as Taoiseach, and the salary of one secretarial assistant indefinitely after five years.
“In Deputy Ahern’s case the secretarial allowance amounted to €114,000 in 2009 alone. The service to Dr. Garret FitzGerald has cost over €300,000 since 2001.
“This lavish expenditure on former Taoisigh is in addition to their very generous pensions and the State cars and Garda drivers at their disposal.
“Home help hours for elderly citizens are being cut and we must ask how many such hours would this scheme pay for? It should be ended and the funds made available for a useful purpose.”