herald

Monday 5 December 2016

It's time we cut the pensions of the politicians who led Ireland to the brink

Brian Cowen
Brian Cowen

The revelations that the lavish pensions of ex-ministers and Taoisigh are to be boosted have caused widespread public anger and consternation.

Politicians like Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, who are already in receipt of inflated pensions, are to have them further enriched, some by €1,680 per year.

This is due to a provision in the Lansdowne Road Agreement on public sector pay.

When questioned on this Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin pleaded that he had no option under the law but to allow the pension hike go ahead.

Nonetheless, ordinary people who are struggling under the pension levy will be dismayed by this turn of events. As will many workers whose taxes fund the retirement of Ahern, Cowen et al.

enormous

These ex-politicians may have had their pensions reduced in recent years but let's not forget that they are already in receipt of enormous pensions anyway.

Ahern and Cowen, two men who led our country to the brink of ruin, headed governments whose actions caused huge financial suffering to citizens.

It is extraordinarily unfair then that, in a country where the fruits of recovery are still trickling down very slowly, a pension boost of this nature should take place.

Frankly, former politicians should have their pensions reduced across the board - a move which would bring them in line with ordinary citizens who lack the benefit of publicly-funded pensions.

Former ministers Mary Hanafin and Mary O'Rourke view the payments as being "wrong" at this time, it's reported.

But "wrong" is not enough. These pensions must be reduced.

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