€100k pensions for Cowen, Ahern

Former presidents, ministers, and judicial office holders cost the taxpayer €15.6m in pension and severance payments last year, according to figures released yesterday.

€100k pensions for Cowen, Ahern

Former president Mary McAleese received a pension of €141,082 while her predecessor Mary Robinson was paid €134,883.

Two former taoisigh who oversaw the economic boom and subsequent crash received almost €200,000 in ministerial pension payouts on top of their TD pensions. Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern received €99,907. Other former leaders on the list were former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton (€91,224), Albert Reynolds (€98,707), and Liam T Cosgrave who received a modest €18,703.

Former tánaiste and minister for justice Michael McDowell is on a ministerial pension of €74,026 and former finance minister Charlie McCreevy, health minister Michael Woods, defence minister Michael Smith, justice minister John O’Donoghue, foreign affairs minister Dermot Ahern, arts, sports and tourism minister Martin Cullen, agriculture minister Joe Walsh, and former transport minister Noel Dempsey all topped up their TD’s pensions with €69,005 in ministerial pensions.

Ministers appointed before 2004 are entitled to claim both their TD and ministerial pensions.

Former Labour Party leader and tánaiste Dick Spring received €70,929 in 2012. Mary O’Rourke, a former education minister, received a ministerial pension of €66,454.

Newstalk presenter Ivan Yates, who lived in Wales for most of 2012 after declaring himself bankrupt, received a ministerial pension of €27,136 on top of his TD’s pension.

Politicians who returned their severance payments included Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who returned €34,935, Éamon Ó Cuív (€33,964), and former justice minister Brendan Smith (€33,964).

Former junior health minister Roisín Shortall, who resigned from the Labour parliamentary party in Sept 2012, handed back her severance payment of €6,552 while former Green Party leader Trevor Sargent, who served as a junior minister, also handed back his severance pay of €2,232.

Among the high-earning ministerial pension holders who returned pay were EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (€59,797), President Michael D Higgins (€37,621), and former Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa, who returned €26,304.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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