Kenny challenged on Dublin Airport Authority pensions cut

FF chief asks how Taoiseach would feel if his Oireachtas pension was halved

Traffic passes Dublin airport’s Terminal 2 building. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál  Martin has raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny the cut in pensions to former Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta/Dublin Airport Authority  workers, and to former employees of the now closed SR Technics. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Traffic passes Dublin airport’s Terminal 2 building. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny the cut in pensions to former Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta/Dublin Airport Authority workers, and to former employees of the now closed SR Technics. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has challenged the Taoiseach to say what his reaction would be if his Oireachtas pension was cut by 50 per cent in sharp Dáil exchanges today.

Mr Martin had raised with Enda Kenny the cut in pensions to former Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta/Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) workers, and to former employees of the now closed SR Technics.

“How would you like it, Taoiseach, if somebody arbitrarily decided to halve your pension entitlements?” he demanded.

He said nobody had represented the deferred pensioners in any of the negotiations or discussions that had gone on. “They have taken the biggest hit,’’ he added.

Mr Martin said a woman employee who would be aged 65 next year and expecting €30,000 of a pension, would now get €15,000.

He asked whether the Government, which had 25 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus, would vote the cuts through.

Mr Kenny said the deficit in the pension fund was €769 million.

An expert panel had considered all the combinations and possibilities involved and were able to bring forward a further €20 million.

There was widespread agreement that the scheme was unsustainable and the employers were putting in money to cushion a move from a defined benefit to a defined contribution scheme.

“The only other option, in the event of the current negotiations being unsuccessful, is for the pensions authority to wind up the scheme up entirely,” the Taoiseach added.

“So legal action by the deferred members could obviously undermine the current proposals which are very finely balanced, I have to say.”