Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (233, 249)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

233. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will hold a constitutional referendum to remove the pensions of former Ministers and Deputies found to have received corrupt or inappropriate payments in the Mahon report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11041/13]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

249. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if it is possible to remove the ministerial pension entitlements of a person who has been convicted of a crime or political corruption in particular a crime associated with the person's tenure as a Minister; if not, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11518/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 233 and 249 together.

Historically the concept of forfeiture of pension benefits has been provided for under legislation such as the Forfeiture Act 1870 and Offences Against the State Act 1939. The terms of some pension schemes also envisaged circumstances where a pension might be forfeited. However this concept of forfeiture has been the subject of significant legal developments in the past 20 years or so - e.g. provisions within pension schemes relating to forfeiture being found to be ultra vires (Lovett .v. the Minister for Education: 1996), the striking down of relevant sections of the Offences Against the State Act 1939 as unconstitutional (Cox .v. Ireland: 1992), the repeal of the Forfeiture Act 1870 (Criminal Law Act 1997), earned pension being considered as a property right within the terms of the Constitution. It must also be recognized that the executive/administrative arm of the State cannot take actions which would effectively usurp the judicial function. I do not propose to request Government to hold a referendum on any amendment to the constitution.