It is “immoral” for EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan Quinn to receive a pension totalling more than €3,000 a week as “one pension should be enough for anyone”.
This is the view of Galway Reform Alliance senator Fidelma Healy-Eames, who was commenting on pension figures that would be available to Ms Geoghegan Quinn on her retirement in October.
The former Galway West TD and Minister for Justice will be entitled to a total €432,000 EU pay-off following her time as EU Commissioner. She will also get an EU pension of more than €54,000 a year from September 2015. From October she will also be entitled to her TD and ministerial pensions totalling €108,000 a year.
The total works out at more than €3,000 a week, with around €2,000 of this coming from Irish taxpayers. Given the economic situation in both Ireland and the rest of the EU, and with Irish taxpayers already enduring the Household Tax and facing water charges later this year, the amounts of money Ms Geoghegan Quinn is entitled to receive has been branded “immoral” by Sen Healy-Eames.
“This is just too much money for any one individual,” said Sen Healy-Eames, “especially in view of the pressure on pensions, an area widely recognised to be a ‘time bomb’, with many questioning if there will even be enough in the pot to pay basic pensions to public servants in the future.”
Sen Healy-Eames said the issue of politicians’ pensions must now be looked at and reformed.
“Ministers, Taoisigh and Commissioners should be paid well while in the job in acknowledgement of the round the clock commitment required by the role,” she said, “but on retirement it should be one pension only.”
Meanwhile Sen Healy-Eames is calling for the current Finance Minister Michael Noonan to be appointed as Ireland’s Commissioner once Ms Geoghegan Quinn retires.
The Maree based senator believes the Taoiseach should “push hard for a commissioner with an economic portfolio”.
“We have taken the pain for the EU. We rescued the European Banking system,” she said. “Let Ireland now have a chance to give real leadership with an economic portfolio where we can promote policies and measures that will deliver for all our citizens and are not just focused on the German austerity agenda. It is time that Europe did not mean Germany only.”