Golden goodbye: Senators will get €5m severance if Seanad scrapped

Gold-plated severance pay packages amounting to nearly €5m will be dispensed to senators — even before their pensions kick in — if the electorate vote to abolish the Seanad.

Golden goodbye: Senators will get  €5m severance if Seanad scrapped

Paddy Burke, the Seanad chairman, will get over €250,000 while one in six senators will get almost €150,000 or more in special termination payments and lump sums, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

The 60 senators are entitled to special severance packages including a termination lump sum and separate staggered termination payments as well as a pension lump sum. The three sets of payments are in addition to what outgoing senators will get for an annual pension.

Severance payments will be made after the Seanad finishes in Mar 2016, if the current coalition sees out its term.

Outgoing members are entitled to termination payments as long as they do not become a member of the next Oireachtas, an MEP, or are appointed by government to a position.

Fine Gael has said abolishing the Seanad will save €20m.

The calculation does not take account of €4.8m in special severance packages that would have to be paid to senators, ahead of their annual pensions.

The special termination arrangements for politicians will anger workers, particularly those who have been laid off and shown the door without any redundancy payments from their employers.

The senators who will receive the highest severance payouts include Paddy Burke (€250,126), Denis O’Donovan (€216,253), Paul Coghlan (€150,026), David Norris (€148,958), and Feargal Quinn (€148,958). Hildegarde Naughton — appointed in July last to replace Martin McAleese — could receive €23,000.

The average severance package for a senator is €81,000.

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