Gormley: Politicians must 'do the right thing' on pensions

The Environment Minister is urging the five remaining TDs and MEPs still holding out on returning their pensions to "do the right thing".

The Environment Minister is urging the five remaining TDs and MEPs still holding out on returning their pensions to "do the right thing".

John Gormley said there is unrelenting pressure on those who have yet to give the payment back following an avalanche of announcements sparked by the decision from EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan Quinn on Monday.

The latest to give up the pension is Fianna Fáil TD Michael Woods, leaving four politicians - including Jim McDaid who today dug his heels on on the issue - still holding out.

Deputy Woods said this afternoon that he told the Taoiseach and the Finance Minister about his decision yesterday.

Roscommon Senator Terry Leyden had caved in this morning.

Meanwhile Minister Gormley denied there was any pressure on Taoiseach Brian Cowen and he said there is no disagreement among the Cabinet either.

"There's no disagreement because it has not been discussed this week," he said.

"It is, because of the constitutional issues that are involved, up to individuals.

"But individuals can do the right thing. That's the point I was making."

Yesterday, all Fine Gael and Labour politicians agreed to surrender their ministerial pensions, straining the Taoiseach's leadership as the four remaining TDs and MEPs are all members of Fianna Fáil.

They are McDaid, Noel Treacy, Liam Aylward and Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher.

Deputy McDaid said today his refusal to forego the payment was "a matter of principle".

The Donegal North East TD said the furore over the pensions issue is a media-driven "witchhunt" which has seen a week of "whipping TD's into place".

"The political establishment has taken hit after hit," Deputy McDaid said. "It's one thing after the other."

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