Ministers in the government that crashed the Irish economy will reap in pension payments worth almost $15million a year between them for the rest of their lives – with former Prime Ministers Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern top of the pile.
New figures released show that ex-Fianna Fail leader Cowen will pocket an annual pension worth $206,000 until the day he does.
Bertie Ahern, the man he succeeded as Irish PM, will receive $210,000 a year while another 28 former
Ministers are entitled to pension plans worth $140,000 a year for the remainder of their living days.
Cowen, still only 51 and 14 years off the normal pension age, was the man in charge when the Celtic Tiger collapsed. He also authorised the controversial and costly bank guarantee scheme that plunged Ireland into recession.
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The pensions rogue gallery also includes former Justice Minister Ray Burke, who was jailed on corruption charges.
Health Minister Mary Harney, Arts Minister Martin Cullen and former speak of the house John O’Donoghue, the man at the centre of an expenses scandal, will receive almost $150,000 on an annual basis.
Pension experts have confirmed that private sector workers would need to build up a pension fund of almost $10million to receive such generous payments.
The industry sources estimate that Cowen and Ahern will cost the state between seven and eight million dollars each in pension payments.
Up to a hundred former ministers receive pensions from the state, even if they are now employed in the private sector.
The new figures were obtained by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in his role as a member of the Irish parliament.
Sinn Fein’s spokesman on finance Pearse Doherty said: “The fact that this level of payment is being paid to former ministers when we are facing into one of the harshest Budgets in history is a scandal.”