ANY NEW TDS joining the ranks of the Dáil will be asked to make pension contributions worth over twice as much as their existing counterparts.
Legislation on public service pensions enacted by Brendan Howlin yesterday will see any newly-elected TDs, Senators and other major public office holders contributing over one eighth of their annual salary into their own personal pots.
While current members of the Oireachtas contribute 6 per cent of their salaries to their pensions, this will increase to 13 per cent for any newly-elected members from now on.
The new rules will mean the average TD, who does not hold a ministerial, committee chairmanship or any other extra position like a party whip, will contribute €12,047.36 per year to their pension.
Any new members of the Seanad – if the chamber survives a referendum to abolish it later this year – will contribute €8,530.73 a year.
This is in addition to the across-the-board pension levy on all public earners which would see most TDs hand back 7.5 per cent of their salary in order to help address the State’s future bill for public pensions.
A TD who builds up 20 years’ service, which is the maximum pensionable service, would have contributed almost €241,000 toward their own pension lump sum and pension (before inflation and any further increases to TDs’ pay).
A TD elected today, and who completes 20 years’ service would receive a lump sum payment of €139,008 when they retire, and an annual pension of €46,336 once they turn 65.
The provisions also apply to the President, the judiciary and the holders of qualifying public offices – though, again, the provisions can only apply whenever such positions are next filled.
The first TD to be affected by the new measures could be the member elected to fill the vacancy in Meath East, arising from the death last month of junior minister Shane McEntee.
An election to fill that seat must be held within 180 days of the vacancy arising – meaning an election is due before the end of June.
However, a clause in the Act means that any person who has left the public service and who subsequently returns to it later in life will have their pension contributions and entitlements calculated as they previously were.
This means some prospective candidates – like former TD and incumbent Fianna Fáil senator Thomas Byrne – would continue to contribute at the lower rate of 6 per cent if they were elected.