Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (105)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

105. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding Garda pensioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26461/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I do not accept that a two-tier approach is being adopted in respect of the planned reduction in public service pensions over €32,500. The approach set out in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013 on this matter is in fact designed to ensure that the same broad level of pension reduction is applied in the case of each of the two groups of pensioners referenced by the Deputy's question. I would note that the reductions planned for public service pensions above €32,500 apply to retirees from all sectors of the public service; and that Garda pensioners and other public service pensioners are treated alike.

The fundamental change provided for in the Bill is that a public service pension that is currently valued in excess of €32,500 will be reduced with effect from 1 July 2013. The reduction in such pensions will range from 2% at around the threshold level of €32,500 (subject to no pension being reduced below €32,500) to 5% for the highest value public service pensions. Pensioners who retired up to end-February 2012, (i.e. during the ‘original’ grace period) are already subject to the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). The planned further pension reduction of 2 to 5% will therefore be secured by increasing, with effect from 1 July 2013, the PSPR rates to which these pensioners are currently subject. The new higher rates to apply to this cohort are set out in the first Table in section 5 of the Bill.

For pensioners who retired after end-February 2012 and for public servants who will retire on pension up to end-August 2014 (i.e. during the ‘new’ grace period), their pensions will not have been subject to PSPR to date; instead those pensions reflect the downward impact of the 2010 public service pay cuts. The planned pension reduction for this group of 2 to 5% will therefore be secured by introducing PSPR at the rates set out in the second table in section 5 of the Bill. On this basis I consider that there is broad parity of treatment as between the two categories of pensioner referred to.