Government loses Dáil vote on Fianna Fáil pensions Bill

Legislation would prevent solvent firms from winding up schemes without consent

The latest vote loss brings to eight the number of defeats the Government has suffered since coming to power. File photograph: Alan Betson

The latest vote loss brings to eight the number of defeats the Government has suffered since coming to power. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Government has been defeated by 82 votes to 51 on a Fianna Fáil Bill on pensions which would make it illegal for a solvent company to wind up a pension scheme without the consent of the Pensions Authority.

The vote loss brings to eight the number of defeats the Government has suffered since coming to power. The defeat is an embarrassment for the Government but has no major political consequences at the moment.

Only Fine Gael and its supporting Independents voted against the Pensions (Amendment) (No 2) Bill introduced by Fianna Fáil social protection spokesman Willie O’Dea.

Mr O’Dea said that while the Bill would make it illegal for a solvent company to wind up a pension scheme it would not apply in the case of Independent News & Media which has moved to reduce pensions for existing and former staff members. The Limerick TD said he had been advised it would not be constitutionally possible for the Bill to apply retrospectively.

The Bill will go to the Joint Committee on Social Protection for discussion at some point.

The Government won a further vote on legislation on media plurality by 54 votes to 35, with 41 abstentions. The Media Ownership Bill extends the remit of the Minister for Communications providing greater scope for existing regulatory measures.

It was introduced in the Dáil on Wednesday by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, who warned of an increasing concentration of ownership in the hands of a small number of entities.