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Former junior ministers share €64,000 severance payout for 2012

Former Labour minister Willie Penrose, and Fianna Fáil duo Dara Calleary and Billy Kelleher, received severance last year.

Willie Penrose was entitled to €28,000 in severance pay, despite serving as a 'super-junior' minister for only seven months.
Willie Penrose was entitled to €28,000 in severance pay, despite serving as a 'super-junior' minister for only seven months.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THREE TDS who previously held junior ministerial roles shared in severance payouts of nearly €64,000 last year.

Former Labour minister Willie Penrose and the Fianna Fáil duo of Dara Calleary and Billy Kelleher all received severance pay last year, even though they continue as TDs.

Penrose was the junior minister responsible for planning matters, but held the job for little over seven months before resigning over the closure of the army barracks in his native Mullingar.

He received €24,093.67 in severance payments last year, in addition to the €4,146.35 he collected in November and December 2011 after he stepped down.

Meanwhile, the Fianna Fáil pair of Calleary and Kelleher – who had served as junior ministers for labour affairs and trade respectively – received €19,932.40 each in respect of their tenures.

This is in addition to the €33,775.71 that each received in 2011 after the collapse of the Brian Cowen government in which they served as junior ministers.

Ministers who serve in a particular office for over two years are entitled to a lifetime pension in respect of that position, once they reach 65 – but those who serve less than two years, or who leave the job between 50 and 65, are instead entitled to severance pay.

Former Cabinet ministers waived their pay

Department of Public Expenditure records show that other former Fianna Fáil ministers under the age of 65, and who were therefore entitled to severance pay after losing their positions, gifted their severance pay back to the Exchequer.

This includes the party’s current leader Micheál Martin, who waived severance pay totalling €66,230.84 in 2012, and the former cabinet ministers Éamon Ó Cuív and Brendan Smith, who both gave up €30,568.14.

Former junior health minister Róisín Shortall, who resigned her position two months ago in a dispute over the allocation of primary care centres, waived her severance of €6,522.48.

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She would be entitled to over €26,000 in additional severance pay over the coming two years, having served in her ministerial role for 19 months, but has indicated that she will waive this amount.

A total of €718,884.45 was allocated to cover severance pay for former ministerial and Oireachtas office holders in 2012, though only €584,994.85 of this was actually paid due to the returns by Martin, Ó Cuív, Smith and Shortall.

The former Attorney General, Paul Gallagher, received the highest severance pay of any former office holder in 2012, receiving a total of €81,886.16. Gallagher still practices as a senior counsel.

Read: Shortall gives up €33,100 payoff after quitting ministerial job

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Gavan Reilly

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