Simon Harris pleased with outcome of CRC pension talks

Staff at charity will be granted access to public service pension scheme

Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations on the collapsed Central Remedial Clinic pension plan.

The process will see staff members at the charity granted access to a public service pension scheme following the collapse of its private scheme.

Legislation will be required following the Government decision to grant staff access to a public scheme, which will apply to their future service only.

Staff threatened industrial action after the board of the CRC unilaterally decided to cease making further contributions to the private pension scheme after the deficit grew to €2.3 million plus risk reserves of €2.7 million.


The board asked the Government to permit staff to access the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (SPSPS), despite Mr Harris’s previous insistence it was “not possible” as the 44 individuals concerned were “ineligible”.

As the CRC is classified as a so-called section 38 body under the Health Act, its employees are deemed to be public servants.

Asked on Wednesday why there had been a decision to reverse an earlier policy that the staff would not get access to the public pension scheme and whether he had signed off on it, Mr Harris said he had not.

“I didn’t directly but there was a body of work done, obviously, in relation to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and I’m pleased with the outcome.”

The CRC is funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and employs about 287 employees. Forty-four are members of the funded pension scheme in question.

Mr Harris told the Dáil in June it was “regrettable” that the CRC took a decision to cease contributions to the scheme without first consulting the HSE in relation to scheme solvency and seeking a viable alternative for the employees concerned.

Future service

The Department of Public Expenditure said on Wednesday that should a wind up of the CRC plan be confirmed and proceeded with, only future service of the relevant current employees who were affected would attract public service pension provision “in accordance with public service norms”.

This included admission to pre-existing schemes to the Single Public Service Pension Scheme “where appropriate”.

“However, pension provision for the relevant employees in respect of future service provision will be subject to more detailed consideration when further information becomes available, including the outcome to the proposed wind up of the current scheme.”

The Department of Public Expenditure said the CRC pension plan was not provided for in legislation and was established, managed and governed without reference to, or sanction from, the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure and Reform. It also “exceeded current public service norms”.

The 44 affected individuals include chefs, bus drivers, clinicians, physiotherapists, and managers. Their age profile is 40-55, but a small number are due to retire in the next five years.