Bertie leads pack as €131k paid this year for pensions
A MASSIVE €131,000 was paid out to TDs and senators in ministerial pension in the first four months of this year.
All of Leinster House's former ministers have now agreed to hand over their bonus payments to the Exchequer or to charity, but not before most made significant claims for 2010.
New figures show the extent to which the Oireachtas members were collecting pensions on top of their ordinary payments.
The biggest recipient was ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who drew down a gross pension income of €28,780, followed by Fine Gael's Michael Noonan (€11,623) and Labour's Ruairi Quinn (€12,122).
The Department of Finance figures show that a total of €131,029 was handed over to 17 TDs and senators.
Last month public pressure forced all sitting members of the Oireachtas to give up their pension. The records confirm that some TDs, including Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour's Joan Burton, cancelled their pensions in 2009.
The total pension payout to Oireachtas members last year was €595,076. The public representatives also received their normal salaries of around €100,000.
A significant number of those who were still claiming pensions during the first four months of this year were from Fine Gael and Labour.
Among the Fine Gael TDs to receive payments this year were Sean Barrett (€8,244), Richard Burton (€3,853), Paul Connaughton (€4,683) and Jim O'Keeffe (€5,171).
Labour TDs to get 2010 pension payments included Michael D Higgins (€5,162) and Emmet Stagg (€2,245).
The finance records also show that former Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern received €98,901 in 2009, while other Fianna Fail TDs including Frank Fahy, Rory O'Hanlon and Noel Treacy claimed between €24,000 and €82,000 last year.
The pension issue dominated the public debate for a number of days last month as TDs and senators gradually gave up their entitlements. Mr Ahern was among the first batch to succumb to public pressure on the issue but others like rebel Fianna Failer Jim McDaid objected to what he described as "a witch-hunt".
He did eventually agree to hand over his payment to charity, rather than the Exchequer. The figures show that he has received a gross payment of €6,544 in the first four months of this year. For all of 2009 he collected €22,487.
Dr McDaid initially refused to give up his ministerial pension "on a matter of principle".
He admitted that his pension of €425-a-fortnight after tax was "substantial" but asked: "Why is it that politicians are being picked out at this time?"