Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (294)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

294. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding pension payments at Forfás (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5557/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Under the Industrial Development Acts 1993, 1998 and 2003, Forfás is the legal employer of all staff in Forfás, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and a number of staff in the National Standards Authority of Ireland. Forfás has responsibility for managing pension arrangements of these staff and for paying the pensions of retired staff of those agencies. Forfás is also responsible for a number of legacy pension schemes for staff of agencies that have now been dissolved, including An Bord Tráchtála, the former Industrial Development Authority, the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards, the National Board for Science and Technology, and Eolas.

Forfás administers pensions for 1,248 existing pensioners as well as some 430 former employees with deferred pension benefits. Due to the large numbers involved, and for reasons of confidentiality, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with a breakdown of payments made to each person. In 2012, Forfás received total Exchequer funding of €51.4 million, of which €40.2 million was to cover Forfás pension commitments broken. This included provision of €10.4 million for Lump Sum gratuities.

In 2013, Forfás’s Exchequer allocation was €40.076 million, of which €34.023 million was to fund their pension obligations for the year, including €3.669 million for gratuities. The figure for gratuities in 2012 was significantly higher than normal due to the retirement of a large number of staff across the enterprise agencies before the cuts to pension entitlements, as provided for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts, took effect.

It is important to point out that the allocation to Forfás to fund the pension entitlements of former agency staff is completely separate to funding made available to meet the agency’s policy and research activities. Forfás’s allocation for these activities in 2013 was just over €6 million.

Question No. 295 answered with Question No. 270.