Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (242)

Clare Daly

Question:

242. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will reconsider the proposed pension cuts and if he will confirm the constitutionality of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 and the new legislation that will be required to implement the current proposed pension cut. [11221/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

To facilitate public service management in planning for staff departures in an orderly fashion, I have decided that public servants who retire before the end of August 2014 will have their pension and lump sum calculated by reference to current pay rates, that is, the rates before the pay reductions to higher pay which will apply from 1 July 2013. Separately I intend to bring forward proposals to reduce, with effect from 1 July 2013, pensions in payment above €32,500 through amendments to the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). For serving staff, therefore, who will retire before end August 2014 on pensions of €32,500 or more, the effect of these measures will be to reduce their pension by the amount of the new Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) but their pension and lump sum will be unaffected by the pay reductions.

For the Deputy’s information, I can confirm that, in the context of the preparation of PSPR legislation legal advice obtained from the Attorney General indicated that it is possible to apply proportionate reductions to a broad class of existing pensions. Such a measure would, of course, have to accrue sufficient funds and take account of the fact that pension benefits are generally regarded as vested property rights, which must be considered in the public interest when taking action. The Office of the Attorney General will be consulted in the context of the preparation of amending legislation to give effect to the revised PSPR arrangements.