FORMER taoiseach Bertie Ahern was among the worst hit in the budget, stripped of at least €110,000-a-year in pension and long service benefits while he remains in the back-benches.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan decided all former office holders, including the iar taoiseach, 15 ex-ministers, 21 former junior ministers and the last ceann comhairle can no longer claim their lucrative pensions while they remain members of the Oireachtas. And he scrapped the 10-year service bonus for all TDs and senators.
It was practice for ministerial pensions to kick in as soon as the office holder was demoted back to deputy or senator status. The outgoing office holder could draw between 20% and 60% of their ministerial salary on top of their TDs pay.
As Mr Ahern held office for more than 10 years he drew the full 60% of his e180,870 taoiseach’s salary in the year since Brian Cowen replaced him. The €108,522 pension and €3,133 bonus were on top of a €90,000 TDs wage. Mr Ahern was sitting three rows behind Mr Lenihan when the announcement was made. But he could not be contacted for a comment last night. He, along with the others, will be able to draw the pension when they leave office. Apart from the former taoiseach the move will hit 15 former ministers currently holding seats for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
Each had been entitled to draw a pension based on their previous ministerial salaries. For those who served two years they could take 20% of their past pay, building up to 60% for those with 10 years’ service.
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