herald

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Posh pad of TD McDaid who won't give up €22k

HOLDING FIRM: Rebel says he won't sacrifice pension

THIS IS the luxurious pile belonging to rebel TD Jim McDaid who continues to hold on to his ministerial pension.

The former Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism has insisted that he would not give up a €22,000 pension, on top of his salary.

Dr McDaid, who owns this large, detached home on the outskirts of Letterkenny, Donegal, said that he was concerned at the manner in which politicians' income is being cut and how it could affect the quality of democracy.



Defiant

He is one of the few politicians remaining who have not volunteered the pension pot.

The Donegal North TD was expelled from Fianna Fail for abstaining in a Dail vote in 2008, however he continues to receive €22,487.

And the defiant McDaid has said he will not give up his pension "unless it is the express wish of Dail Eireann".

He said the uproar over the pensions issue was a media-driven "witchhunt" which has seen a week of "whipping TDs into place". "I have principles and this is a matter of principle," Dr McDaid said.

He is one of five former Fianna Fail ministers who have yet to rescind the double payment while in receipt of Dail, Senate or MEP salaries.

Dr McDaid warned that if he gave up the additional payment, it would provide an imbalanced influence on the political process.

Following the recent controversy over the ministerial and Dail pension held by EU commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, 29 serving politicians have agreed to forgo their ministerial pensions.

Another Fianna Fail MEP, Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, said he would make a decision over the weekend about his ministerial pension.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has stated on a number of occasions that the advice of the Attorney General is that it would be illegal to compulsorily take away pensions from sitting Oireachtas members.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has confirmed that the entitlement of sitting TDs and senators to hold ministerial pensions will be eliminated after the next election.

Fine Gael said that it would proceed with legislation to eliminate ministerial pensions in the Dail next week even though just two serving TDs have still not given them up.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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