Cost of public sector pensions


Sir, – The headline on the front page (December 16th) is click-bait and borders on misleading.

The headline screams: “Cost of public sector pensions surges to €150 billion”. It later whimpers in its last sentence “it would be paid over 70 years or so”. So, approximately €2 billion per year then. While this is a lot of money, it is hardly shocking given the size of the public service. This narrative/polemic is further established with the sentence, “Workers in receipt of a full public service pension who have completed 40 years’ service are in most cases entitled to a pension of 50 per cent of final salary plus a tax-free lump sum on retirement of 150 per cent of final salary”.

While this sentence may be true, there are numerous caveats to this.

Most public service workers working today do not fall into this pension scheme. Those on this pension scheme started before 1995, a quarter of a century ago. So these are people finishing careers that started in the 1980s. New entrants have career average pensions and a much smaller lump sum.

There must be some sense of balance brought to this “debate” yet there is no alternate view given.

I would have expected better from The Irish Times than fuelling the imaginary public/private split in such a crude manner. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.