Former Fianna Fáil minister Michael Woods has denied he engaged in any special pleading to bring about a change in the law to allow him claim a backdated pension.

The only individual to benefit from the change is understood to be Mr Woods and he will receive an estimated €75,000 following the change to laws governing ministerial pensions last week.

The change allows ministers who have failed to claim their pension within the specified time period, to receive back pay.

Mr Woods says it was an anomaly that had come to light when he discovered that his ministerial pension could not be backdated because he had neglected to apply for it in writing when his normal severance payments ended.

This morning, the Irish Independent reported that Minister for Finance Brian Cowen had inserted a special clause in a bill passed in the Dáil last week, so that a former Cabinet colleague could receive thousands of euro in unclaimed pension payments.

When a minister leaves office at present, they receive severance payments for two years. After this the ministerial pension is then payable if applied for.

However, if a Minister does not apply for their pension for more than six months after the ending of severance, payment of the pension could not be back-dated, and is only payable from the date of application.

The Department of Finance said the arrears involved in Mr Woods' case is in the region of €75,000 for a period of less than two years.

Mr Cowen was questioned about the provision when the relevant legislation was being debated in the Dáil last week.

The Labour Finance spokesperson, Joan Burton, asked if the clause was being inserted because an individual had failed to apply for their pension, and Mr Cowen acknowledged that this was that case.

The Bill involved is due to be debated in the Seanad tomorrow.