Bertie gives up ministerial pension

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is to give up his €83,000 ministerial pension, it was revealed tonight.

As pressure intensified on TDs to relinquish the nest egg, Mr Ahern wrote to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, gifting the lucrative retirement package to the State.

A spokesman for the former Taoiseach said he would not be making any comment.

Fine Gael and Labour vowed that all their TDs would voluntarily forgo their payments, heaping pressure on Fianna Fáil to follow suit.

Fianna Fáil TDs Frank Fahey and Rory O'Hanlon also surrendered their pension entitlements, leaving seven FF deputies still claiming the double payment.

Enda Kenny challenged Brian Cowen to accept a Fine Gael Bill ending the payments but the Taoiseach said any legislation would have to be lawful.

“My challenge to the Taoiseach is to accept this Bill and put an end to this practice for once and for all, for all concerned, so that the relentless pursuit of individuals can then be dealt with once and for all,” Mr Kenny said.

But the Taoiseach said he would not be calling in members of his party and telling them to surrender the payment.

Mr Ahern retired as Taoiseach on a pension of €111,235.20. The payment is currently €83,426.40 after it was cut by 25% last summer following new legislation.

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