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Former ministers to get pension boost, but one thinks the country "isn't ready" yet

Mary Hanafin has said former ministers should be the “very last” people to get an increase.

Counting Begins Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

MARY HANAFIN HAS warned against increasing the pensions of former government ministers, saying that the economy “isn’t ready” yet.

The former Fianna Fáil education minister and now councillor described the pensions as “very generous”.

Speaking to The Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio 1, Hanafin said:

“I think we should be the very last people, the very last, to get any kind of an increase.”

I don’t think the country is right, or the economy is right yet, to be paying us or the very big pensioners extra money.

The Sunday Times reports today that under the recently agreed public sector pay deal, former government ministers are in line to receive a pension increase.

The paper details that the maximum increase is in the region of €1,680. For example, former taoiseach Brian Cowen’s pension will increase from around €134,000 €136,000.

The Department has defended the increases, with a spokesperson telling the paper that the increases are weighted towards civil servants at the other end of the pay scale.

Hanafin said that in her own situation, she doesn’t take an allowance or expenses from the Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown council, worth roughly €30,000 together.

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New National Pensions Framework launch Mary Hanafin with Brian Cowen (left) and the late Brian Lenihan (right), pictured here in March 2010. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Speaking to the same programme, Hanafin also defended the Fianna Fáil government’s actions during the financial crisis.

She said the regulator, the Central Bank, and the politicians were each left to look after their own areas, but she doesn’t think this “hands-off approach” is appropriate now.

Former finance ministers Brian Cowen and Charlie McCreevy both appeared before the banking inquiry last week.

Quoting opinion and colour writers, including TD Shane Ross, Hanafin said the inquiry so far has been aimed at ‘nailing Fianna Fáil to the cross’.

“That just hasn’t happened yet,” she said, noting Ross’s suggestion that it could boomerang and negatively affect the current Government.

Read: 9 things we’ve learned from Brian Cowen at the banking inquiry (so far) >

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Nicky Ryan

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