Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (195)

Finian McGrath

Question:

311 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if any public money is invested in the tobacco industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1384/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The National Pensions Reserve Fund was established under the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 to partially pre-fund the increased costs of social welfare and public service pensions from 2025 onwards, when those costs are projected to increase significantly due to the ageing of the population. A full list of the fund's holdings as of 31 December 2002 was published in the annual report 2002 of the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission, which manages the fund. The list included holdings in firms in the tobacco sector. A list of the fund's holdings as of 31 December 2003 will be published next July in the commission's annual report 2003.

The commission is independent of the Government. It operates the fund under a commercial investment mandate set out in section 19 of the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000, which requires the commission to obtain the optimal financial return subject to prudent risk management.