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Monday, April 27, 2009

Irish Golden Fleece Award - - Minister still a teacher after 20 years on leave!!

Ministers Mary Hanafin and Micheál Martin, flanking former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2007

For their brass necks and shameless greed, the Irish Golden Fleece Award goes to two senior ministers who have held on to their teaching posts and are each clocking up three pensions worth upwards of €140,000 a year in total - - almost 3 times the annual pay of a member of the New Zealand Parliament.

The Irish Independent says Ministers Micheál Martin and Mary Hanafin will benefit from ministerial, TD and teacher's pensions. And another nine TDs are filling two pension pots. They each stand to get upwards of €60,000 a year in pensions, an Irish Independent investigation can reveal.

Regulations allow for ministers and TDs to continue paying into their teacher pension fund, while a temporary teacher is employed in their school position.

Martin left his teaching post 20 years ago, while Hanafin took secondment 12 years ago.

Due to their high political office they stand to get a TD's pension worth in the region of €53,000, and also a ministerial pension worth about €70,000.

But on top of this they will get a teacher's pension worth several thousand euro depending on the amount they continue to pay into it while on 'Oireachtas leave'.

In Hanafin's case, with 17 years teaching experience, she would be entitled to around €12,500 on retiring her position.

The majority of Irish private sector workers do not even have a basic occupational pension scheme.

Before the Irish General Election in 2007, members used their role in electing members of Ireland's Upper House of Parliament known as Seanad Éireann - - a useless talking shop - - to force members of the governing Fianna Fáil to support demands for severance and pension payments.

Following news that 7 sacked junior ministers who had titles but no jobs, are in line for thank-yous worth over €50k even though they will still remain overpaid as TDs, the Sunday Tribune has reported, that local authority candidates who are not returned in elections will reap tax-free lump sum of up to €70k

City and county councillors who are not re-elected next June will be paid tax-free lump sums of up to €70,416 each out of a €10m goodbye fund set aside to compensate them. All non-returned councillors aged 50 and over will automatically qualify for immediate payment, whether or not they have stood for re-election.

They will be entitled to €3,300 a year for each year that they have served since 2000 and a lower amount for years before that. Councillors who have served since the 1999 local election will get about €30,000, while representatives with 20 years' service or more will qualify for the maximum payment of over €70,000.

Michael Clifford of the Sunday Tribune wrote that the status of politicians went through enormous change during the boom years. It was gravy all the way. Salaries leapt by over 100% since 2000.

"There was gravy aplenty poured in expenses and allowances. Any TD who totted
up less than €150,000 a year needed a lesson in creative management. For
instance, it would be interesting to know whether any TD ever submits a train
ticket for expenses instead of claiming the generous mileage allowance.

My own favourite expenses story involved the two Fine Gael TDs, Joe McHugh
and Olwyn Enright, who got married in 2005. As reported in this newspaper, the
happy couple continued to claim separate €140 overnight allowances for three
years, pulling in an extra €30,000.

The result of these readjustments was the servants of the people took on the
status of rulers. How could a TD awash with gravy relate to anybody on the
average industrial wage of €38,000? How could they empathise with, or serve the
interests of, the vulnerable, that constituency so beloved of political
speechwriters today?"

New approach needed to fix broken Irish political system

Ireland and Japan; the Human Cost of broken political systems

Lenihan says total cost of State pension for an Irish public sector worker hired after 2004 is 26.1% of pay - - benefits for politicians are even greater

Irish public sector pay excluding pensions exceeds private sector pay by 10% for top jobs to up to 30% for other grades

The European Parliament Gravy Train - - Irish MEPS on up to €360K in Annual Expenses

Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott claims to TV crew at 7:00 am sign-in for expenses, that she was working through the night!