35 retired civil servants enjoy €100,000-plus pensions

Pressure is mounting on the Government to cut payments to former senior civil servants with new figures showing 35 retirees are in receipt of gold-plated pensions in excess of €100,000.

35 retired civil servants enjoy €100,000-plus pensions

The payments to high-earning former civil servants and ex-department secretary generals include annual sums of nearly €120,000 paid to five individuals.

The Cabinet agreed last week to postpone the introduction of a super tax on pensions of senior public servants who are soon to retire, allowing officials to stay in office for another year. However, new figures show dozens of already retired public officials are on six-figure sums, with some getting paid over three times the amount ordinary workers get for the average industrial wage.

Even after cuts to pay and pensions in recent years, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin admitted that up to 35 retired civil servants are getting over €100,000 per annum.

In a parliamentary reply to Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, Mr Howlin outlined the figures. Of the number, 23 are in receipt of pensions over €107,000 while another five get more than €118,000 annually, the figures show.

Previous changes under financial emergency measures cut public pensions by up to 12% on amounts over €60,000. This later increased to 20% for amounts over €100,000 and was imposed on an aggregated value if an individual had more than one pension.

Mr Howlin emphasised that the numbers on huge pensions was relatively low, but he also refused to reveal if any retired public servants had handed back pension amounts to the State.

“This [the 35] is out of a total of some 16,228 civil service pensioners and a reduction of over 50% compared to the number (79) identified as in receipt of a pension in excess of €100,000 net of PSPR [Public Service Pension Reduction] in 2011. As a matter of policy, waivers of pay or pension by serving or former public servants are not disclosed.”

Sinn Féin has called for pensions for ex-senior civil servants to be significantly reduced and said the amounts paid out are galling for ordinary public servants.

The pension figures were released last week, after the Cabinet earlier agreed to grant a reprieve for public servants on the verge of retiring. High-paid public servants were facing a new super tax on their pensions if they did not retire by the autumn. Amid concerns the change would lead to an exodus of officials, such as judges, leaving important positions, the date and grace period by which time they must claim their pension has been put back until June of next year. The tax will see amounts of up to 70% taxed on portions of pensions above €115,000.

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