Pensions – a question of fairness

 

Sir, – I am one of thousands of retired semi-State employees. Most of us have no State pension. We were not allowed to pay the appropriate PRSI stamp because we all contributed to our respective defined benefit superannuation schemes.

With the financial collapse in 2008, most of these schemes stopped any increase in pensions, not unreasonably. In addition, the Noonan levy reduced our pensions by over 2 per cent, in perpetuity in most cases.

In 2018, the scheme of which I am a member decided after years of careful management and the best of actuarial advice to recommend a very small increase of 1 per cent. It was decreed in law that such an increase had to be approved by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Almost two years have passed. The scheme is in excellent health and well able to afford the increase.

Now, almost 12 years since our last increase in pension and almost two years since the application went to Government, Fine Gael has blocked this payment without explanation.

Many of my colleagues are very elderly with very modest pensions, their own deferred salaries in effect. Our money. No cost to the public purse. Since 2008, the State pension has increased by 16 per cent. Ours has decreased by over 2 per cent. – Yours, etc,

TONY O’CONNOR,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I read with great interest the promises made by various political parties to appease the “grey vote” in the general election (“FG and FF back transition payment for those retired before qualifying for State pension”, News, January 23rd).

Since 2009, an agreement has been in place to pay all post-1995 military officers on full PRSI who are forcibly retired on age grounds at age 58 a supplementary pension (as long as the pensioner is not, before age 65, in insurable employment).

The “one size fits all” Single Pension Scheme effectively tore up this agreement for all post-January 1st, 2013 personnel, failing to take into account the markedly earlier compulsory retirement ages of frontline uniformed personnel.

This has had a devastating impact on turnover intent within the Defence Forces, with many young officers in particular no longer viewing Óglaigh na hÉireann as a viable long-term career.

With all the recent outcry surrounding the need to bridge the gap of one year between retirement from the workforce and the entitlement to the State pension, spare a thought for the uniformed men and women in this country, including our Defence Forces, gardaí and firefighters, who will be forced out of a job but will have to wait a decade for their own pension entitlement. – Yours, etc,

CONOR KING,

General Secretary,

Representative Association

of Commissioned Officers,

Dublin 24.