Civil servants retiring this year have been given an average lump sum payment of €87,000 as well as an annual pension of €29,000, a figure described as “modest” by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.
A total of 1,424 people retired from the civil service before the end of February under an early retirement scheme.
The minister said it was a “myth” that their pension payments were “excessive” and that large pensions referred to in the media are not representative.
He told the Oireachtas Finance Committee 38% of civil servants are on occupational pensions of €10,000 while 25% have pensions of €5,000 or less. “There is a lot of focus on the top end pensions in the public service. But it is important to note the figures I have just quoted.”
The payments account for some of the increased 39% in spending by his department this year.
Presenting his spending estimates for 2012 to the committee, he said spending by his department would increase by €11.5m in 2012.
The increased spending is needed to “meet its commitment to formulate and promote policies which drive efficiency, effectiveness and reform,” he said.
This includes €4.63 million for the development of a HR Shared Services Centre and€1.4m for the Reform and Delivery Office.
During the committee hearing, public sector workers were warned they’ll have to share offices and give up their parking spaces as the Government reduces its annual spending on leases.
Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said many workers will have to realise that the “brave new world demands that they work with other people” as the state moves to a smaller property portfolio with shared accommodation and back office facilities.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) leases 337 offices buildings on behalf of the state. It has surrendered 70 properties and reduced its annual rent bill by €14m.
But it spends €500,000 on empty offices including €365,000 on the Phoenix House and €215,000 on the Irish Life Centre in Abbey Street in Dublin.
Mr Hayes, who has responsibility for the OPW said he was sending a “strong message” to departments that they must achieve value for money.
“The days of departments demanding what they want, whether it’s Dublin 2 or Dublin 4, and they need x number of parking spaces attached to that, are over as far as I’m concerned,” he said
“People have to get out of this mentality that just because you are a certain individual, you are entitled to x amount of space,” he said.
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