Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

20% levy placed on top pensions

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen will be subject to a new top-rate 20 percent level for pensions

Retired public servants on "gold-plated" pensions have been hit with a new top-rate 20% levy.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin revealed that former taoisigh and ministers will lose a fifth of pension payments above 100,000 euro. It would also affect former office-holders such as the president, the top rungs of the civil service, senior members of the judiciary such as chief justices, and heads of universities.

Mr Howlin said: "I think there's an understanding that in the circumstances the country finds itself that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden."

Former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, who receive around 150,000 euro a year, could expect an annual reduction of around 18,760 euro.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams earlier challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny on what he described as the obscene payments to the elites.

Mr Adams said: "You say many times that we're all in this together, but there are 30 former politicians earning pensions in excess of 100,000 euro. These elites take this money home every single year and it's coming out of the people's pockets. So we're not all in this together."

It is estimated the 20% levy, which will apply across the board to current and future retirees from January, will save the Government some 400,000 euro a year.

Mr Howlin said: "While the savings are again modest, I believe the measure should be implemented in the broad public interest. I consider this progressive amendment is also in the broad public interest and is just and equitable in all the circumstances."

The amendment was proposed by Mr Howlin under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts. The motion, delivered to the Dail, will then go to the Seanad for consideration.

Those receiving between 60,000 euro and 100,000 euro will be subject to the existing 12% levy.

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