BERTIE AHERN AND Brian Cowen were each paid €80,810 in State pensions last year, according to newly-released figures.
The two former Fianna Fáil taoisigh are receiving the highest State pensions of any former politicians with Ahern’s predecessor, John Bruton, receiving a payment of €72,908 last year.
Former tánaiste Michael McDowell received €64,958 last year while his fellow former tánaiste and colleague in the Progressive Democrats, Mary Harney, received €63,478.
Other notable names appearing in a lengthy list released to the Dáil today include the former Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes, who is back in the news lately, and received €45,470 in pension payments last year.
Former Fine Gael minister and current Newstalk presenter Ivan Yates received €28,243 in an annual State pension.
Fianna Fáil councillors Mary Hanafin and Sean Haughey, both of whom are plotting Dáil comebacks, received €49,283 and €16,934 respectively.
The pension payments to former taoisigh and ministers were revealed following questions from Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald to Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.
Defending the payments, Howlin said that people had a legal entitlement to a pension and that reductions had been applied as far as could be done, according to legal advice received by the government.
He also said: “It is important that pensions comprise an important part of the package that is available to people to get them to work in the public service.
“We will have to start discussing now how to ensure we get quality people to work in the public service because there will be pressures associated with the filling of senior positions when recovery comes and when there will be much more lucrative opportunities in the private sphere.
McDonald said that some public servants are “overpaid and over-pensioned” in contrast to others working in the public sector who are on “poverty wages”.
“I and, I am sure, others are struck by the contrast between the regard for recipients of these payments, which I acknowledge are lawfully due and made, and the low-paid workers within the public service and Civil Service,” she said.