Senators Agree Pensions Surrender

Two Fianna Fáil Senators have joined the slew of politicians surrendering their ministerial pension entitlements as public pressure mounts.

Senators Terry Leyden and Ivor Callely became the latest politicians to forgo claiming their hefty state pensions for previous ministerial posts while simultaneously taking home a full wage.

Senator Leyden's pension was worth €21,000 last year.

There are a further five serving Fianna Fáil politicians who have yet to indicate whether they will give their pension back to the Exchequer or to charity including Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, who has claimed he wants to avoid making a 'knee jerk' reaction.

This morning, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny accused Brian Cowen of abdicating all responsibility over the issue after the Taoiseach refused to accept the Fine Gael proposed legislation to immediately discontinue such payments.

Speaking this morning, Mr Kenny said: "Rather than deal with the issue head on, he hid behind threadbare legal arguments and refused to speak directly to his Fianna Fáil colleagues and ask them to give up the pension payment. It is this type of hands off, no can do attitude that has contributed over the years to the political and economic mess in which we now find ourselves as a country.

"The choice remains for Brian Cowen to deal with this issue on one of two fronts. Accept the Fine Gael legislation as we have been arguing for since last April or deal directly with the members of your own Parliamentary Party and secure their agreement not to accept the pension payment.

"If he continues to refuse to take up either option then the Taoiseach, his Fianna Fáil colleagues and his coalition partners in Government will face a Dáil vote on the issue next week."

The issue was stirred up this week after Ireland's European Commissioner for Innovation, Marie Geoghegan-Quinn finally surrendered to pressure over the two pensions she was claiming worth over €108,000 while she was receiving a salary worth €250,000 per annum.


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