Pension levy proved assets not sacrosanct

 

Sir, – Pat Leahy writes: “I suspect most people don’t want to live in a country where the state can seize citizens’ assets when it sees fit” (“The State needs to protect its assets as well as religious orders do”, Opinion & Analysis, April 22nd). Not many fair-minded people would disagree with that.

Well, let it not be forgotten that this State did exactly that in 2011 to pensioners with the imposition of the now infamous levy on private pension funds to finance the then government’s action plan for jobs. When it was brought to an end in 2016, having been unexpectedly extended by a further year by Michael Noonan, all private pension funds in Ireland were depleted to the tune of over €2.25 billion, hitting all private pensioners, many of whom live on quite modest pensions indeed.

As an Eircom pensioner myself, I am drawing my pension from a private fund which “lost” €96 million (plus the opportunity cost of a return on investing that sum) to the State over the five-year period of the levy. Unless I live a very long life (to which I do aspire!), I can’t easily see myself receiving a pension increase for many years, if at all, in view of the decision by our fund managers to claw back the deficit in the fund from pensioners.

However worthy the stated reason, the Fine Gael-Labour government effectively seized pensioners’ financial assets and in the process undermined their future financial security. This is a cohort that paid a lifetime’s taxes, and indeed still do, and also provided for their pensions.

And to think there’s nothing to stop any government from perpetrating a similar raid in the future! – Yours, etc,

LIAM CALDWELL,

Ballinteer, Dublin 16.