Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ministerial pensions

There has been a minor kerfuffle over the past few days about the payment of pensions to former Ministers, most notably our current EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Today Labour have announced plans to introduce legislation aimed at changing the current regulations.  From RTE:

The Labour Party is to draw up legislation to ban the payment of ministerial pensions to serving politicians.

This afternoon, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said their legal advice was that there was no constitutional impediment to such legislation.

I have just one minor issue with this.  Shouldn’t we wait to pay pensions until people are actually retired (i.e. over 65). 

Not wanting to pick on anyone, but just to give an example, Ivan Yates has been in receipt of a ministerial pension since 1997.  Ivan Yates is 50 and has been receiving this pension since he was 37.  Ivan Yates did not retire when he left politics in 2002.  He is managing director of Celtic Bookmakers and has a fairly successful broadcasting career.

I have no problem giving Ivan Yates a pension for the service he did as Minister for Agriculture.  But surely we should wait until he is retired before we pay this deserved pension.

UPDATE: Unknown to me, Ivan Yates actually addressed the issue of his Ministerial Pension on The Breakfast Show on Newstalk this morning which he co-presents.  A copy of the piece is available here

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