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Torch being passed to a new generation

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

Dublin — More than 600 local councillors have applied for a golden handshake to get out of politics as part of an initiative which is being called a "scrappage scheme" for politicians. The purpose of the scheme is to bring younger blood into local authorities around the country by granting the pension style pay-offs.

The gratuity scheme announced by Environmental Minister Noel Dempsey has attracted three out of four councillors around the country in what promises to be a major shake-out. Councillors must have at least five years service. They get up to £750 for each year served up to 20 years and £500 for each year served up to a total of 40 years.

A report to Dublin Corporation this week shows it will face a bill of £377,384 if the 32 existing and former councillors get their handouts.

The applicants include former cabinet ministers, TDs, a judge, the current lord mayor and a number of former lord mayors.

Councillors will have to pay back the cash if they are nominated in the next local elections and get elected.

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The highest golden handshake is for the corporation doyen Joe Connolly who will be entitled to £21,500. Lord Mayor and former TD Joe Doyle will get £15,000.

Former Fine Gael Ministers Mary Flaherty (£15,000), Gay Mitchell (£11,611) and Jim Mitchell (£7,937) have applied, as has former Democratic Left TD, now Judge Pat McCartan.

TDs seeking a handout are the taoiseach’s brother Noel (£10,500), Tony Gregory (£15,000), Sean Haughey (£10,500), John Gormley (£6,000), Tommy Broughan (£6,000), Ben Briscoe (£19,000), Roisin Shorthall (£6,000) and Pat Carey (£10,500)

Former TDs are also in the running including Tomas MacGiolla (£13,758), Sean Dublin Bay Loftus (£17,500) and Eric Byrne (£10,500).

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