Second minister in pension plea to Commissioner

Pressure intensified on Ireland’s European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn last night after a second minister signalled she should give up her Dáil and ministerial pensions.

Pressure intensified on Ireland’s European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn last night after a second minister signalled she should give up her Dáil and ministerial pensions.

Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Mary Hanafin said people were looking for political leadership and that should be considered.

Yesterday, Social Protection Minister Eamon O’Cuiv made similar remarks when he claimed everyone in the country had a duty to lead.

Ms Hanafin told RTÉ’s 'Week In Politics': “It has more to do with perception that it has to do with the actual return of the money or the value of the money.

“But there’s no doubt that those who are giving political leadership in this country, people want us to give that leadership and perhaps that should be considered as well.”

On a visit to Dublin on Friday, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn was asked about her pension entitlements but declined to comment.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said it was a matter for individuals to decide what they wanted to do with their pensions.

“The situation there is that members of the Oireachtas and office holders have made those arrangements from legislation that was passed last year,” he said at the annual Fianna Fáil Easter Rising Commemoration at Arbour Hill.

“So it’s a matter for individual pensioners to decide what they want to do.”

Last June, the Government announced ministerial pensions to serving members would be cut by 25% and axed completely after the next general election.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan put the radical reforms before the Dáil after a number of former Cabinet members did not offer to give up the lucrative nest egg.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny backed the plan, while Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, finance spokesperson and deputy leader Joan Burton and Wicklow TD Liz McManus had all given the entitlement up.

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