THE government signed off on a €473,000 pension deal for the ex-boss of Irish Water only after consulting with the Attorney General.
Documents released under FOI have revealed how Irish Water also had to pay for external legal advice over arrangements for their former managing director to retire on full pension at age 57 and with a €100,000 severance payment.
Speaking notes prepared for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy explained that the retirement deal could not be sanctioned without sign-off from him and two other ministers.
A list of “redline issues” was prepared for Mr Murphy included an explanation of how the retirement package meant an internal pension scheme had to be amended and a new severance gratuity scheme created.
Mr Murphy was told to prepare for opposition comment suggesting he would be asked about the “extraordinary high costs involved in the establishment of Irish Water”.
The speaking notes said that the department should also be prepared for questions on whether the state would be “vulnerable to any potential legal challenges”.
The Department of Housing and Department of Public Expenditure had on several occasions refused to release documents relating to Mr Tierney’s pension.
TDs and Senators have run up an overseas travel bill of more than €120,000 during the past seven months.
Politicians jetted off to the four corners of the globe clocking up hundreds of thousands of air miles on trips to Iran, Russia, Canada, the United States, and Mozambique.
One senator Ronan Mullen made three expense claims totalling almost €1,800 on three separate one-night trips to France, according to the records, and despite the fact hotels and flights on the trip were paid directly by the Oireachtas.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl was away on separate trips to St Petersburg, Helsinki, and Washington DC. His counterpart in the Seanad, Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan, jetted off three times to Iran, Georgia, and the USA.
Just over €9,100 was spent on flights to bring five parliamentarians to Iran for a “bi-lateral” visit last October.
A FRESH set of guidelines for what broadcasters can and can’t do during a referendum campaign was needed to provide “greater certainty” over what’s allowed in the run-up to the vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
Internal records from the Broadcasting Authority said that with four separate votes to come over the next two years, a clearer set of rules was urgently needed with some people up to now having a “weak or incorrect” understanding of what is allowed.
They explain how there was confusion over “artificial balance” governing how much airtime each side should get and how broadcasters could be encouraged to focus on “issues” rather than purely adversarial debates.
The new guidelines also clarified that broadcasters did not need to axe prominent campaign figures if they were appearing in programmes totally unrelated to a referendum.
Late last year, Minister Katherine Zappone was dropped from TV3 cooking show The Restaurant because the station feared complaints if they broadcast the episode in which she featured during a referendum campaign.