How one public servant retired with a lump sum of €428,000 and an annual pension of more than €140,000

A TOTAL of 66 former public servants have received lump sum payments worth in excess of €200,000 over the past five years.

That includes one individual who received a golden handshake worth an incredible €428,000 and another who was paid out €382,000 from state coffers.

In all, 142 people — including departmental secretaries general and other former public servants — received lump sums worth more than €160,000, at a total cost to the state of €28.8 million.

That means an average pay-out of just over €200,000 per person, with tax only paid on lump sums in excess of €200,000 under rules introduced on 1 January 2011.

Ten Highest Lump Sums

The figures were revealed following an FOI request to the Department of Public Expenditure for the highest-earning pensioners from the public sector, but do not include politicians nor former employees of the garda, or HSE etc.

Details of the highest pensions being paid have also been revealed with two people — who retired in 2010 and 2011 respectively — getting €142,670.50 each year, although those rates are likely to have been cut since.

Three more former state employees received a pension of €126,817.50 with all three of them having left their jobs in 2011, the data reveals.

Four people, three of whom retired in 2015, are in receipt of annual pensions worth €107,795.

In total, there were ten people in receipt of six-figure pensions, with five more people getting over €90,000 a year for their pension.

In total the 142 top earning state pensioners are receiving close to €10 million between them annually, at an average rate of around €68,000 each.

Top Ten Pensions

The figures include a range of different professions, including management of certain state bodies, former secretaries general, other senior civil servants. However, the areas they worked in have not been released.

Their identities have not been disclosed either in the table of the highest earners, which was released by the Department of Public Expenditure.

Individual lump sums and pensions are generally exempted from Freedom of Information requests unless they relate to political figures.

The highest earning pensioner in the State has been enjoying a remarkably high standard of living over the past five years, the figures do show.

In addition to his or her €428,000 lump sum payment, that person has also received €142,670.50 annually although that figure may have fallen somewhat due to the public service pension reduction, which was introduced on 1 January 2011.

Irrespective of that, the person involved has been paid — even using the most conservative calculations — at least €1 million since their retirement.

Long-serving senior public servants are entitled to a severance package worth one and a half times their annual salary on their retirement.

In addition, they receive an annual pension at the rate of half their salary on retirement. Often, there is no adjustment to this figure if they choose to retire a few years early.

The availability of such golden handshakes has been dramatically cut for all new public servants, with their annual pension calculated on their salary over the entirety of their career, rather than on final day of service.

As this new regime only applies to newly employed public servants, the effect of those changes will not be felt for decades.

These figures are separate to the enormous pensions paid to former government Ministers and politicians, which cost €65 million between 2011 and 2014.

The highest earners there have been former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, who both received golden handshakes of approximately €175,000 in 2011.

Since then, both Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen have been paid a six-figure annual pension, which in 2014 was worth just over €134,000 each.

You can see more on political pensions here

You can find details of all the former state employees who have received lump sums in excess of €160,000 in the spreadsheet uploaded here.

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