€10m pension bill for 103 public servants

The State is paying out over €10m each year in pensions to 103 retired public servants.

These include high-earning former civil servants and department secretary generals.

In total, the annual bill to the exchequer is €65.6m to the 1,106 former high-earning, public servants getting pensions in excess of €50,000 per annum.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed that a further 20 (inclusive of the 1,106) are in receipt of pensions between €90,001 and €100,000 at a minimum cost of €1.8m per annum.

In a written Dáil response to a question from Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan, Mr Howlin confirmed thatan additional 37 retired public servants are in receipt of pensions between €80,001 and €90,000.

The annual minimum cost of paying these pensions is €2.7m.

Mr Howlin further revealed that 48 retirees are on between €70,001 and €80,000, with 260 in receipt €60,001 to €70,000.

There are 638 on pensions between €50,000 and €60,000, costing an annual €31.9m.

It is believed that there could be 250 in all, including retired politicians, hospital consultants and judges, in receipt of pensions over €100,000, as Mr Howlin said that the data relates to retired civil servants, the VEC/Institute of Technology sector and seven smaller bodies whose pensions are paid on an agency basis by the Office of Paymaster General.

The disclosure of the €100,000 annual pensions coincides with fresh speculation that those payments face new cuts under Government proposals to slash its payroll by €1bn.

The cuts may be achieved by amending existing legislation that reduced public servants’ pensions twice in the last few years.

A pension cut brought in by former finance minister Brian Lenihan hit all public servants on pensions above €12,000, although those who enjoyed the top payments lost the most. The cuts ranged from 6% on amounts between €12,001 and €24,000 to 12% on amounts over €60,001.

The following year, a 20% tax on pensions over €100,000 was brought in — but those with more than one pension, including many politicians, avoided it because of a legal loophole.

The Lenihan pension cuts raised €100m.

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