O'Dea backs cutting pensions for corrupt politicians

O'Dea backs cutting pensions for corrupt politicians

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea has backed calls for pensions to be taken from politicians who are found to have acted corruptly.

The Limerick said he supports calls for some of those named in the Mahon tribunal report published last week to be stripped of their pension entitlements.

"I wouldn't have any hesitation at all of pushing that line," he said.

"I think that the people who have been found guilty of abusing their public office to receive money corruptly... I mean I don't see why the taxpayer should be continuing to pay them a pension, quite frankly."

His sentiments were echoed by former Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal North East Jim McDaid.

"I think that anybody (found to have) abused their position certainly should have a case to answer.

"I'd have no hesitation in saying that their pensions should be under review, if not removed.

"If they abused their position - that position gave them their pension and there is no entitlement to a pension."

The Mahon tribunal report was being discussed at a Cabinet meeting today, with ministers expected to accept all of its recommendations.

A three-day Dáil debate on the report's findings gets underway later.

A number of those named in the report, including former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, have already resigned from Fianna Fáil ahead of motions to expel them from the party on Friday.

Deputy O'Dea was among the former Cabinet colleagues of Mr Ahern who came in for criticism from Judge Alan Mahon.

The inquiry chief used his final report to launch a withering attack on the ex-ministers who rolled out to defend their taoiseach in his final months as leader.

Deputy O'Dea had in December 2007 said: "“I’m waiting for the day that the tribunal goes back to Bertie Ahern’s First Communion money and starts questioning whether he got it in notes or coins or whether he put it in a real bank or a piggy bank or did he get a half crown from (developer) Owen O’Callaghan".

In one section, Judge Mahon claimed his work was savagely attacked and undermined by such comments.

“It was entirely inappropriate for members of the government to launch such unseemly and partisan attacks against a tribunal of inquiry... to inquire into serious concerns regarding corruption in public life," the report found.

“There appears little doubt that the objective of these extraordinary and unprecedented attacks on the tribunal was to undermine the efficient conduct of the tribunal’s inquiries, erode its independence and collapse its inquiry into that individual.

“They were as regrettable as they were ill-considered and unfounded.”

Deputy O'Dea, along with Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin and party colleague Éamon Ó Cuív, is among the few Ahern-era ministers still in frontline politics.

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