Senators may get six-digit payoffs

AS the days count down to a historic vote on changing our Constitution, most voters will be unaware that if senators are let go, so to speak, they are entitled to bumper pay offs.

The cost of closing the upper house has not been factored into debates on the yes or no sides.

Indeed, poring over the six-digit figures for many of the senators severance packages makes you wonder if members are secretly rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of termination pay.

Much has been said before about ministers and former TDs getting termination pay. But the 60 senators could cost the State €4.8m in “golden handshakes”.

A complex system is used to calculate their termination payments, pension lump sums, and pensions.

Furthermore, this is complicated more if a member was a TD before or even moved between both houses on more than one occasion.

There are four payment types:

1. Termination arrangements are provided to a member with at least six months’ continuous service. The termination lump sum equates to about two months’ salary at the time of retirement, which is added to by any allowances for positions held such as cathaoirleach, or chair of a committee.

Extra allowances are also provided to Oireachtas commission members, the leader of the house, the deputy leader of the house, the government whip, and assistant government whip, as well as the leaders and whips of opposition groups.

These allowances bump up their reckonable salaries, increasing the amounts due on severance pay.

Where Fianna Fáil senator Marc McSharry, with 14 years’ service, takes away €130,736 before his pension kicks in, party colleague Paschal Mooney, with 29 years’ service, gets €148,958 in severance payments altogether. Mr McSharry has served less time but is a member of the Oireachtas commission, giving him an allowance of €5,989.

2. In addition to a termination lump sum, a maximum of 12 monthly termination payments are payable to members if they have at least three years’ continuous service. The rate depends on the years served and can vary greatly, as our analysis of data shows. Again, additional allowances enhance the sum.

3. The third set of payments is a pension lump sum, which is granted to members a month after they reach retirement age and is given to members with a minimum of two years’ service (people elected after 2004 must wait until they are 65 to draw down this part).

4. The fourth payment type is the annual pension. This is calculated on an individual basis and takes account of salary, salary allowances, and duration of service. It is capped at 20 years of service.

For many senators, their actual annual pension payments are about 8,000. This is because they will have served only five years.

Three of the four payments are subject to tax and other statutory deductions but members get their pension lump sum tax-free.

Any public disquiet at politicians is likely to heighten with the revelation of these generous payoffs.

Contrast their situation with that of the Waterford Crystal workers, who were left almost without any pensions when that factory closed.

Some, having worked for 50 years and into their 60s, had seen their pensions wiped out. They had to go to Europe to force the government to fund their pensions.

Contrast their situation with that of senators, who sit just three times a week, have no constituency responsibilities, and, according to the yes side, have been powerless and ineffective. These same politicians will get an average €81,000 in severance packages if the house closes.

Some will get far more lucrative terms, with the likes of Fianna Fáil veteran Terry Leyden picking up €147,513. Party colleague Labhrás Ó Murchú gets €144,083. Fine Gael seanad party whip Paul Coghlan will get €150,026, while Maurice Cummins, Fine Gael’s leader in the Seanad, will get €147,800.

The following table breaks down the estimated severance package the 60 senators are entitled to, once they leave office. It includes the party or group they are in, the years they were elected to the Seanad or the Dáil (TD) or prior this when they were also a senator (S). It also mentions their combined numbers of years’ service.

Each summary includes their county or area of origin, their salary and allowances, current or former full-time profession and what they are entitled to.

The figures are based on the presumption the Seanad runs until 2016 and members do not again become Oireachtas members.

Ivana Bacik

Labour, 2007, 2011.

Nine years in office.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus deputy Seanad leaders’ allowance of €5,989.

Total: €70,989.

Barrister and lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €11,831.

Termination payments: €29,577.

Pension lump sum: €47,917.

Pension: €15,972.

TOTAL: €89,325 before pension payments kick in.

Seán Barrett

Independent (university). 2011.

Five years’ service.

Cork.

Lecturer in economics.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Paul Bradford

Independent, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997 (TD), 1992 (TD), 1989 (TD), 1987 (S).

29 years’ service.

Cork.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Farmer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €33,835.

Pension lump sum: €118,197.

Pension: €39,399.

TOTAL: €142,138 before pension payments kick in.

Terry Brennan

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Louth.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Colm Burke

Fine Gael, 2011

Five years’ service (plus two years as an MEP).

Cork.

Oireachtas salary €65,000

Former MEP and councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €46,873.

Pension lump sum €39,375.

Pension €13,125.

TOTAL: €97,081 before pension payments kick in.

Paddy Burke

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1993.

23 years’ service.

Mayo.

Salary €65,000 plus Cathaoirleach allowance of €38,160 plus Oireachtas commission member allowance of €5,989. Total: €109,149

Self employed.

Termination lump sum: €18,191.

Termination payments: €68,212.

Pension lump sum: €163,723.

Pension: €54,574.

TOTAL: €250,126 before pension payments kick in.

Thomas Byrne

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007 (TD).

Nine years’ service.

Louth.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: 32.082.

Pension lump sum: €51,975.

Pension: €17,325

TOTAL: €94,890 before pension payments kick in.

Deirdre Clune

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007 (TD), 1997 (TD).

14 years’ service.

Cork.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €51,872.

Pension lump sum: €62,775.

Pension: €20,925.

TOTAL: €125,480 before pension payments kick in.

Eamonn Coghlan

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former Olympian athlete.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Paul Coghlan

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997.

19 years’ service.

Kerry.

Oireachtas salary. €65,000 plus government whip allowance €2,682.

Total: €67,682.

Former councillor and director of Radio Kerry.

Termination lump sum: €11,280.

Termination payments: €42,300.

Pension lump sum: €96,446.

Pension: €32,148.

TOTAL: €150,026 before pension payments kick in.

Michael Comiskey

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Leitrim.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Farmer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Martin Conway

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Clare.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

John Crown

Independent (University). 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin (but born in New York).

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Health consultant.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

David Cullinane

Sinn Féin, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Waterford.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Maurice Cummins

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007, 2002.

14 years’ service’

Waterford’

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus Seanad leader allowance of €15,255

Total: €80,255.

Former claims manager.

Termination lump sum :€13,375.

Termination payments: €50,158.

Pension lump sum: €84,267.

Pension: €28,089.

TOTAL: €147,800 before pension payments kick in.

Mark Daly

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007.

Nine years’ service.

Kerry.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Auctioneer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €27,083.

Pension lump sum: €43,875.

Pension: €14,625.

TOTAL: €96,416 before pension payments kick in.

Michael D’Arcy

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007. (TD).

Nine years’ service.

Wexford.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Farmer and& former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €32,082.

Pension lump sum: €51,975.

Pension: €17,325.

TOTAL: €94,890 before pension payments kick in.

Jim D’Arcy

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Louth.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Teacher.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

John Gilroy

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Meath.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Psychiatric nurse and& author.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Jimmy Harte

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Donegal.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Insurance broker.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,394 before pension payments kick in.

Aideen Hayden

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service

Carlow

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus assistant government chief whip allowance of €792.

Former chairperson of Threshold.

Termination lump sum: €10,965.

Termination payments: €12,336.

Pension lump sum: €24,672.

Pension: €8,224.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Fidelma Healy Eames

Independent, 2011, 2007.

Nine years’ service.

Galway.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

College lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €27,083.

Pension lump sum: €43,875.

Pension: €14,625

TOTAL: €81,791 before pension payments kick in.

James Heffernan

Independent, 2011.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Five years’ service.

Limerick.

Teacher and former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Imelda Henry

Fine Gael, 2011.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Five years’ service.

Sligo.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Lorraine Higgins

Labour, 2011.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Five years’ service.

Galway.

Barrister.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Cáit Keane

Fine Gael, 2011.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Five years’ service.

Galway.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

John Kelly

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Roscommon.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Community welfare officer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Denis Landy

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Tipperary.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Terry Leyden

Fianna Fáil 2011, 2007, 2002, 1989, 1989 (TD), 1987 (TD), 1982 (TD), 1982 (TD), 1981 (TD), 1977 (TD).

22 years’ service.

Roscommon.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Architect and pub owner.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €39,180.

Pension lump sum: €97,500.

Pension: €34,484

TOTAL: €147,513 before pension payments kick in.

Fiach Mac Conghail

Independent, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Abbey theatre director.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186;

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Marc MacSharry

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002.

14 years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus Oireachtas commission member allowance of €5,989.

Total: €70,989.

Estate agent.

Termination lump sum: €11,831.

Termination payments: €44,367.

Pension lump sum: €74,538.

Pension: €24,846.

TOTAL: €130,736 before pension payments kick in.

Marie Moloney

Labour, 2011.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Five years’ service.

Kerry.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Paschal Mooney

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1993, 1989, 1987.

29 years’ service.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Dublin.

Journalist.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €97,500.

Pension: €32,500.

TOTAL: €148,958 before pension payments kick in.

Mary Moran

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Louth.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Teacher.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Tony Mulcahy

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Limerick.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Catering business.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Ronan Mullen

Independent (University). 2011, 2007.

Nine years’ service.

Galway.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

College lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €27,083.

Pension lump sum: €43,875.

Pension: €14,625.

TOTAL: €81,923 before pension payments kick in.

Michael Mullins

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Galway.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Hildegarde Naughton

Independent (Taoiseach nominee) 2013.

Two-and-a-half years’ service.

Galway.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

School principal.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: Does not qualify.

Pension lump sum: €12,187.

Pension: €4,062.

TOTAL: €23,020 before pension payments kick in.

Catherine Noone

Fine Gael, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Mayo.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Solicitor.

Termination lump sum:€10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

David Norris

Independent, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1993, 1989, 1987.

29 years’ service.

Dublin (but born in the Democratic Republic of Congo).

University lecturer.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €97,500.

Pension: €32,500.

TOTAL: €148,958 before pension payments kick in.

Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

Sinn Féin, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Galway (but born in England).

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Brian Ó Domhnaill.

Fianna Fáil, 2011,2007.

Nine years’ service.

Donegal.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

College lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €27,083.

Pension lump sum: €43,875.

Pension: €14,625.

TOTAL: €81,923 before pension payments kick in.

Labhrás Ó Murchú

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1097.

19 years’ service.

Tipperary.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Director general of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €92,625.

Pension: €30,875.

TOTAL: €144,083 before pension payments kick in.

Darragh O’Brien

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007 (TD).

Nine years’ service

Dublin

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus FF leader allowance of €5,989

Total: €70,989’

Former finance sector worker.

Termination lump sum: €11,831.

Termination payments: €52,425.

Pension lump sum: €54,420.

Pension: €18,140.

TOTAL: €118,676 before pension payments kick in.

Mary Ann O’Brien

Independent (Taoiseach nominee), 2011.

Five years’ service.

Waterford.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Managing director, Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Marie-Louise O’Donnell

Independent (Taoiseach nominee), 2011.

Five years’ service.

Mayo.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Lecturer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Denis O’Donovan

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002 (TD), 1997 (S), 1989 (S)

22 years’ service.

Cork.

Oireachtas salary. €65,000 plus Oireachtas commission member allowance of €5,989.

Total: €70,989.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €55,081.

Pension lump sum: €106,483.

Pension: €44,932.

TOTAL: €172,397 before pension payments kick in.

Susan O’Keeffe

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Journalist.

Termination lump sum €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Pat O’Neill

Fine Gael, 2011

Five years’ service.

Kilkenny.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Farmer.

Termination lump sum €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Ned O’Sullivan

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007.

Nine years’ service.

Kerry.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Draper and former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €27,083.

Pension lump sum: €43,875.

Pension: €14,625.

TOTAL: €81,923 before pension payments kick in.

Averil Power

Fianna Fáil, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Education advisor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Feargal Quinn

Independent, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1993.

23 years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Grocer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €97,500.

Pension €32,500.

TOTAL: €148,958 before pension payments kick in.

Kathryn Reilly

Sinn Féin, 2011.

Five years’ service

Cavan

Oireachtas salary €65,000

Former college student.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

Tom Sheahan

Fine Gael, 2011, 2007 (TD).

Nine years’ service.

Kerry.

Oireachtas salary. €65,000 plus Oireachtas commission member allowance of €5,989.

Total: €70,989.

Businessman.

Termination lump sum: €11,831.

Termination payments: €32,082.

Pension lump sum: €52,176.

Pension: €17,392.

TOTAL: €96,089 before pension payments kick in.

Jillian van Turnhout

Independent (Taoiseach nominee), 2011.

Five years’ service.

Dublin.

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus Ind group leaders’ allowance of €2,682.

Total: €67,682.

Former CEO of children’s rights alliance.

Termination lump sum: €11,280.

Termination payments: €12,690.

Pension lump sum: €25,380.

Pension: €8,460.

TOTAL: €49,350 before pension payments kick in.

Jim Walsh

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002, 1997

19 years’ service.

Wexford.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Farmer.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €92,625.

Pension: €30,875.

TOTAL: €144,083 before pension payments kick in.

John Whelan

Labour, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Laois.

Oireachtas salary €65,000 plus Oireachtas commission member allowance of €5,989.

Total: €70,989

Former newspaper editor.

Termination lump sum: €11,831.

Termination payments: €13,310.

Pension lump sum: €26,620.

Pension: €8,873.

TOTAL: €51,761 before pension payments kick in.

Mary White

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002.

14 years’ service.

Louth.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Co-Founder of Lir Chocolates.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €68,250.

Pension: €22,750.

TOTAL: €119,708 before pension payments kick in.

Diarmuid Wilson

Fianna Fáil, 2011, 2007, 2002.

14 years’ service.

Cavan.

Oireachtas salary €65,000.

Former councillor.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €40,625.

Pension lump sum: €68,250.

Pension: €22,750.

TOTAL: €119,708 before pension payments kick in.

Katherine Zappone

Independent, 2011.

Five years’ service.

Washington, United States.

Oireachtas salary €65,000

Public policy consultant and member of the Human Rights Commission.

Termination lump sum: €10,833.

Termination payments: €12,186.

Pension lump sum: €24,375.

Pension: €8,125.

TOTAL: €47,973 before pension payments kick in.

GRAND TOTAL: €4,859,739

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