herald

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Payouts to defeated TDs is snub to Martin

TAXPAYERS rejected them but dozens of politicians certainly haven't rejected their payoffs.

TDs who lost their seats or retired at the General Election have split golden handshake payouts totalling €5.3m.

And three sitting Fianna Fail TDs are continuing to receive severance payments for their time as ministers -- ignoring calls from their leader Micheal Martin.

It has emerged that former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea as well as former junior ministers Dara Calleary and Billy Kelleher are still claiming thousands of euro in "comedown" money.

The news will come as a major embarrassment to party leader Mr Martin, who stated before the election that colleagues would be "required to waive their ministerial severance payments" if returned to the Dail.



EYEBROWS

"We are saying, as policy, that those who are re-elected to the 31st Dail, will waive their severance payments and I think that's the right thing to do," he said before the election.

Most eyebrows will be raised about ex-Defence Minister Willie O'Dea who has so far received lucrative parachute payments worth €62,000.

And both Mr Kelleher and Mr Calleary will benefit from tidy sums of €12,820 for their short stints as junior ministers by the end of the year.

Two of the three TDs were last night defending the payments, claiming that they believed Micheal Martin's pre-election pledge only applied to senior ministers.

Mr Calleary claimed that he was planning to use the money to fund a researcher to help him in his role as the party's justice spokesperson.

"I don't have a legal background so I was anxious that I would have some back-up in the area," he said.

Mr O'Dea insisted that he donated a share of the money to charity.

hnews@herald.ie

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