Over half a dozen former TDs and retired politicians are taking home over half a million each year in political pensions, new figures reveal.
A breakdown of the monies currently being received by up to eight one time Dail deputies, ex ministers and a former Taoiseach in the Longford-Westmeath constituency currently stands at €560,163 each year.
The highest earner is ex Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who commands an annual pension of €149,740. He is closely followed by former three time government minister and Fianna Fail veteran TD Mary O’Rourke’s €117,981 pension entitlements. Completing the top three meanwhile is Fine Gael’s ex Minister for Justice, Paddy Cooney who, like Mr Reynolds and Ms O’Rourke presently enjoys a six figure pension amounting to €102,565.
Others to feature include the likes of Donie Cassidy (FF, €65,770), Paul McGrath (FG, €54,011), Louis Belton (FG, €33,953) and Peter Kelly (FF, €23,564).
The list is completed by former PD Dail deputy, Mae Sexton who reportedly takes home a more modest pension of €12,579.
Details of the sums paid out to high profile political figures is likely to re-open the debate on pensions after it emerged the likes of former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen currently receive over €300,000 between them each year as ex office holders.
Public pressure has already forced Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin to tax ministerial pensions over €100,000.
Some of the figures provided do not, however, take into account reductions brought in last year by former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
Among the changes include a 12 per cent reduction on remaining pension monies above €60,000, a move which is likely to trim the overall €14.2m total paid out last year.