Kenny: I can do nothing about €700k pay-off

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says he has been “caught” with the €700,000-plus pension package awarded to a former senior civil servant and there is nothing he can do to reduce the pay-out.

The Taoiseach said the Government would reduce future pension arrangements but that there was nothing he could do about deals already in place.

It emerged on Monday that Dermot McCarthy, formerly the country’s most senior civil servant, left with a package worth over €700,000 when he retired as secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach in the summer.

This comprised a lump sum of €428,011 and a special severance payment of €142,670, in addition to his pension, which will be worth €142,670 a year.

At Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting in Galway yesterday, Junior Minister Brian Hayes described the deal as “unfair”, while another junior minister, Dinny McGinley, said it was “a disgrace”. Mr Kenny said there was nothing he could do.

Asked if he could unpick it, the Taoiseach replied: “Not that deal, but we will make changes for the future. We’ve already made some changes both in regard to higher paid salaries, ministerial salaries, pensions, etc, and there will be changes for the future. We’ve already set that out in the Programme for Government.”

Asked what he thought of the deal, he said: “Well, we’re in a situation where I’m caught with that particular deal, but I made it clear that there will be changes in this area for the future.”

He refused to say if Mr McCarthy should “gift” some of the money to the state. “I can’t speak for the person involved. All I want to say is that we’re going to make changes about this that will reflect a new government attitude towards this kind of situation.”

The Department of Public Expenditure said Mr McCarthy’s annual pension of €142,670 would be cut by €13,980.49 as a result of the public service pension levy.

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