Malachy Steenson discusses the pensions scandal
The issue of serving TDs receiving pensions for their time as ministers, while still working, has been the subject of much debate recently. Eventually those still working as TDs indicated that they would return their pensions after a media onslaught.
As usual, the intent of those in the political establishment has been to protect their own and to preserve their status as the highest paid politicians in Europe. We have had the ludicrous situation where politicians claimed that their pensions were so miniscule that they would make no difference to the overall economic climate, these were pensions which equalled or were more than the state pension.
This greed does not confine itself to current TDs, it extends itself right across senior establishment personnel who believe that they have a right and entitlement to be paid for the rest of their lives for doing a job for a number of years, a job for which they were grossly overpaid in the first place.
Is it right in any society that a person who served seven years as president is entitled to receive from the Irish people over six times the average industrial wage per year for the rest of their life, while the holder pursues other highly paid jobs around the world?
Peter Sutherland, the current head of Goldman Sachs International (whose US parent company is being investigated in the US for fraud involving billions of dollars) and a former head of AIB receives one and a half times the average industrial wage for the short period of time he spent as Attorney General. Most recently Sutherland was in Ireland to hold a meeting of the Trilateral Commission which comprises the ultimate global financial elite, among them Henry Kissinger, a man wanted for war crimes by the French and Spanish judiciary.
In total €8,444,172 was paid to 251 Oireachtas pensioners and €11,000,000 was paid in ministerial pensions, lump sums and severance payments to senior members of the establishment elite last year.
In order to ensure that Fianna Fáil TDs did not lose out on any changes to pensions during his period as Minister for Finance Cowen amended the law. One of the main beneficiaries was Frank Fahey, who according to the Dáil register owns 18 properties including a French country house, and whose pension increased from €36,000 to €60,000.
As Cork Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan has pointed out, the treatment of these ‘pensioners’ is in stark contrast to ordinary workers whose state pensions are now under threat from the Fianna Fáil/Green government
Tynan said; “The Pension is a meagre enough payment and does not even make ends meet for people, particularly during winter when they have to spend a large part of their pension on fuel in order to keep warm.”
He added; “Minister for ‘social protection’ Eamon Ó Cuiv, a grandson of Éamon De Valera, should know how dangerous it is to try and cut the pension – after all his grandfather got elected Taoiseach for the first time after a predecessor, Ernest Blythe took a shilling off the Old Age Pension. Blythe later lost his seat. Mr. Ó Cuiv should worry about his if he does the same.”