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).