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Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018

Vol. 259 No. 11

Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Patrick O'Donovan, back to the House following Second Stage of the Bill last week.

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

I ask Senator Wilson to take the Chair for a moment as I wish to contribute on section 5.

Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

We discussed this a little last week. It is about the effect of the fact that some people will retire between the date this was announced last Christmas and the day the Dáil will pass the legislation at some point in September. Our party reserves the right to introduce amendments in the Dáil to address the circumstances of those individuals affected by the delay between the announcement of the legislation and its passing. Some people will retire who would prefer not to and will be caught in limbo because the Bill has not been passed as quickly as they would have liked. I record, therefore, that Fianna Fáil reserves the right to examine the legislation again to give some comfort to those people to ensure that if they want to continue to work until they are 70, they are not forced to come back at the bottom of a scale where they have retired and received a lump sum.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 6 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I thank the Members of the Seanad who participated in the discussion, in particular on Second Stage. As I said at the outset of Second Stage, it is important to note that people are awaiting the enactment of this legislation. As such, I hope it receives the same level of cross-party support in the Dáil as it has received here. I appreciate the concerns Senator Horkan and others have raised on interim arrangements for people who are waiting now to see the legislation enacted, including staff members in the Houses of the Oireachtas as well as other public servants. There had to be interim arrangements as we could not have had a situation whereby we cut people off at 65 knowing there would be a cohort coming after them with the option to work until 70.

I appreciate the Senator's concerns, but our hands are tied to an extent. When a person takes a lump sum and engages in a pension scheme, there are consequences. It is unfortunate from our point of view, as we would have loved it if everyone could be in a different situation. However, the longer the legislative process takes, the more people will move into that situation. We hope that the legislation will conclude in the Dáil as quickly as possible and that it will go to Áras an Uachtaráin thereafter. This is good and progressive legislation, in that it allows people to continue working, contributing and using their experience.

I thank Senators for their contributions and I look forward to the remainder of the debate in the Lower House.

I thank the Minister of State and wish him the best for the summer.

I thank the Acting Chairman.

Question put and agreed to.