Thursday, 17 June 2021

Questions (18)

Darren O'Rourke

Question:

18. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the significant discrepancy in the reported funding level of the CIÉ 1951 scheme; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that it was reported on 28 May 2021 that the scheme was 93.8% funded at 1 May 2021 and six days later on 3 June 2021, it was reported that the scheme was 92.3% at the end of April 2021 (details supplied); if he will ensure the accurate figures are reported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32461/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

The CIÉ Group has two pension schemes, namely the Regular Wages Scheme (“RWS”) which covers frontline staff such as bus and train drivers across the three CIÉ companies; and the 1951 superannuation scheme (“1951 Scheme”) which mainly covers administrative staff. Issues in relation toCIÉ pension schemes are primarily a matter for the trustees of the schemes, the CIÉ Group and their employees.

In relation to the RWS, CIÉ has prepared and submitted draft Statutory Instruments (SIs) to give effect to the proposed changes to the scheme, and these drafts are now being considered by my Department in conjunction with NewERA.

Concerning the 1951 pension scheme, it is my understanding that this scheme does not currently meet the Minimum Funding Standard (MFS) as required by the Pensions Authority. The MFS is the method the Pensions Authority use to measure whether a scheme has enough assests to cover its obligations with a margin for risk to allow for adverse future experience relating to the scheme's assets and/or liabilities.

Members of the scheme were recently balloted regarding a Labour Court Recommendation which emerged on 23rd November 2020 and seeks to address the MFS deficit, with a majority of the members voting to accept the proposals.

In relation to the Deputy's question on the reported level of funding of the 1951 scheme, I have been advised by CIÉ that the previously reported figure of 92.3% was released in error. This figure was an estimate which was derived from a high level investment monitoring model and has since been determined to be incorrect. CIÉ have confirmed that the figure of 93.8% for 01/05/2021 is correct.

I further wish to advise that CIÉ wrote to me on the 26th of May advising that they intend to commence the process of amending the Statutory Instruments to implement the Labour Court Recommendation in relation to the 1951 scheme. I also understand that CIÉ has advised the Pensions Authority and the ‘1951’ Pension Scheme Trustees and Committee of this development.

Question No. 19 answered orally.