Cork MEP Brian Crowley will be entitled to severance payments of more than €350,000 over the next two years and a pension pot of €1.4m, the Irish Examiner can reveal.
Two other outgoing MEPs, Brian Hayes and Nessa Childers, will also qualify to receive an adjustment package of monthly payments totalling tens of thousands of euro.
Ireland’s longest-serving MEP, Mr Crowley, who was not able to attend any parliament sessions since the last elections in 2014 due to illness, will be entitled to a pension lump sum worth 1.5 times a politician’s salary.
At the end of their term of office, MEPs receive a transitional allowance, equivalent to their salary for one month per year they were in office.
Mr Crowley, who has been an MEP since 1994, qualifies for the full allowance of two years, meaning he would get €210,184 in total.
Mr Crowley would not confirm details of his severance package, nor would his spokesperson respond to numerous queries by phone and email made since March 11 on any medical cost refunds he received during his time as an MEP. Among the allowances awarded to sitting MEPs is the entitlement to a reimbursement of two-thirds of their medical expenses, but Mr Crowley refused to provide any details on whether he has availed of this scheme.
Other sitting MEPs did provide the Irish Examiner with these details, including Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan, who received a €140 reimbursement in 2015 for an eye test and glasses.
Her party colleague Liadh Ní Riada claimed €4,426.67 under the scheme.
Ms Childers also claimed back between €125 and €159 on monthly health insurance payments over the past five years under the allowance.
Announcing his retirement from politics earlier this year, Mr Crowley, who was paralysed when he fell off a roof at the age of 16, said: “I have been in hospital for a long period of time — over three and a half years with a number of surgeries. Because of that, I could not attend the parliament in Strasbourg.”
He defended the fact that he had taken his European salary while in hospital. The monthly pre-tax salary of MEPs is €8,757. “Over the period of time I was in hospital, the work has not stopped. I was working from hospital and via my staff. I was working through my contacts within the EU Commission and EU Parliament,” he said.
Dublin MEPs Mr Hayes and Ms Childers, who will not contest the next election, are also due to receive this payment, however, they will get much less given their length of service.
Based on EU rules, Ms Childers, who has served two terms in the European Parliament, will be entitled to monthly payments totalling €87,577, while Fine Gael MEP Mr Hayes is set to get €43,788, having been in Brussels for five years.
Since Mr Crowley was a member of the parliament prior to 2009, he can choose to go onto the old system, or a newer system which has applied since 2009.
Under the old Oireachtas system, he would be entitled to a lump sum of at least €141,802, which is based on a calculation of 1.5 times a TD’s salary. He would then receive an annual pension of around €47,267 based on half the salary of a TD, which would equate to €1.4m over 30 years.