herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Ex-councillors got €266k after leaving jobs

TWO former Fine Gael councillors who refused to reveal how much they collected in parachute payments after losing their seats received more than €80,000.

Last month, Bill Tormey and Gerry Breen, who both previously sat on Dublin City Council, refused to tell the Herald how much taxpayers' money they pocketed after they lost their seats at May's local elections.

The payments, know as gratuities, were made to part-time politicians who lost their seats or retired following the May poll. They are made in recognition of long service and to cushion the blow of life after politics.

Fine Gael politician Gerry Breen, who served from 1999 - including a stint as Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2010/2011 - but failed to get re-elected to the council, received €47,719.92.

He campaigned for the abolition of the Seanad just two years after unsuccessfully running for a senate seat.

And former councillor Bill Tormey received the third-highest amount of payments for former Dublin city councillors at €33,136.26.

Former Labour Cllr John Gallagher received the highest payment from the city council at €47,721.20.

Dublin City Council paid €266,882.54 to 11 former city councillors.

Parachute

The figure brings to €13.7m the total amount in parachute payments made by local authorities around the country since May.

The Department of Environment had set aside €20.7m for the gratuities, which are subject to tax and the universal social charge.

Sean Paul Mahon, the right-hand man of Charlie Haughey's son, received a payment of €22,775.74 from Dublin City Council less than a year after resuming somebody else's seat.

Mr Mahon, who has been close to Sean Haughey since their days together in Ogra Fianna Fail, filled the seat of Julia Carmichael in June 2013 after she left the council.

In 2009, Ms Carmichael beat Mr Mahon to the Artane/Whitehall seat by two votes.

The payment of gratuities was one controversial element of local government reforms which remained untouched by former Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

The Government expects to save €420m over the next four years after the abolition of town and borough councils.

hnews@herald.ie

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