Eoghan Murphy is working as an election observer in Uzbekistan on €450 a day while also being entitled to thousands more euro a month in taxpayer-funded TD severance payments.
The generous termination payments for TDs are primarily paid to politicians who lose their seats to help ease them back into civilian life.
But the House of the Oireachtas has confirmed to the Irish Mirror that TDs who give up their seats also qualify.
Mr Murphy announced he was resigning from the Dáil on April 27.
He has qualified for monthly payments of just over €6,000, 75% of a TD’s salary (currently €100,191 a year) since then.
Departing TDs also get a lump sum payment worth two months’ wages, which would be between €16,000 and €17,000 for Mr Murphy.
The former Housing Minister has found a new specialism as an international election monitor with the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe).
He has been Head of Mission twice already since retiring from politics six months ago.
His first stint came just three weeks after he left the Dáil when he took up the head election observer role in Armenia from May 17.
The pay for the top job with a mission is generous.
The consultancy rate Mr Murphy has been paid is €450 a day.
A spokeswoman for the OSCE told the Mirror this is paid daily for a six day working week, with occasional work on Sundays, for example, when election day is a Sunday, which is common in many other countries.
The mission in Armenia formally began on May 17 with the arrival of the core team, with Mr Murphy as leader.
It officially ended on July 3, meaning Mr Murphy was paid almost €19,000 for seven weeks, excluding any Sunday work.
The Presidential election in Uzbekistan was held last Monday, October 24, and Mr Murphy has been leading another election observation team there since September 15.
The mission is scheduled to continue until at least November 3, meaning Mr Murphy will be paid just under €19,000 again, if no Sundays were worked.
The Dáil severance payments are based on time served as a TD.
Mr Murphy was elected in February 2011 and resigned in April 2021, clocking up 10 years’ worth of entitlements.
10 years’ service qualifies a former TD for a lump sum termination payment worth approximately two months’ salary, followed by six monthly payments worth 75% of a TD’s salary and two more worth half a TD’s old monthly salary.
That would give a lump sum of between €16,000 and €17,000, six monthly payments of just over €6,000, and two more worth a little more than €4,000 each.
Mr Murphy has been contacted for comment, but has not responded to the Mirror.
A spokeswoman for the Oireachtas said a TD who has left the Dáil does not qualify for the severance payments only if they “become a Member of the following Oireachtas (TD or Senator), or immediately become an MEP, or be appointed by the Government to a full-time position.”
Covid cancels Irish observers
Ireland has a proud record in international peacekeeping and election monitoring, with our current position on the UN Security Council testament to this.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is a regular contributor to EOMs (Election Observation Missions), like the ones Eoghan Murphy has led this year.
However, this was suspended for the past year and a half because of Covid, although it is expected we will start sending observers from a standing roster again soon.
In a letter to roster members last week, a spokesman for DFA said: “We are now in a position to resume nomination of volunteer observers from the election observation roster.
“EU and OSCE calls for nominations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to adjudication of duty of care concerns in the context of the evolving nature of the pandemic.
“While COVID-19 is still a threat, continued public health measures have made it possible to travel internationally with careful planning.
“However, please note that participation in EOMs continues to pose particular COVID-19 risks due to transit through international airport hubs, extensive in-country travel and interactions with observers from a significant number of other countries.
“This potentially exposes to Covid-19 not only election observers, but also those with whom they interact with in the host country and when they return home.
“As a result calls for nomination will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”
Do you want the latest political news and analysis straight to your inbox?
Our brand-new politics newsletter brought to you by political correspondent Ciara Phelan explores the big talking points of the week to keep you bang up to date.
From exclusive interviews to highlighting the issues that matter to Ireland – we’ve got you covered.
Simply sign up to our free newsletter here and we’ll do the rest