Many civil servants struggling on 'modest' pensions
FORMER civil servants have criticised what they claim are targeted attacks on public service pensioners.
The Retired Civil and Public Servants' Association (RCPSA) warned many members were anxious about their future, adding their expectations of a secure retirement had been overturned since the recession.
The association represents 11,000 retired public servants, mainly from the civil service, An Post and Eircom. It claimed the false image of public service pensioners being privileged and well-off was repeatedly propagated.
"Every time a secretary general of a government department retires, his or her pension, lump sum and bonus are presented as if they were representative of public service pensions generally," RCPSA said.
"Apart from being a populist and one-sided presentation in relation to secretaries general, what usually receives little or no publicity are the facts that the average pension paid to civil servants is €19,000 per annum (2011)."
The association maintained less than 1pc of civil service pensioners receive pensions over €100,000 per annum. Pensions have not increased in four years, but have been reduced by a "public interest" law since January, 2011, it added.
The RCPSA said current civil service pensioners, who have spent their entire working life in the service of the community, do not qualify for the old age state pension.
"There is, in truth, a world of difference between the "fat cat" image presented and the modest reality of civil service pensions on the ground," it added.
The association revealed a recent AGM highlighted a anxiety among pensioners in relation to what has happened to them, to their families, to the community, to their country, and what lies ahead.
Bank debt, the collapse in domestic property values and investments, reductions in pensions and cuts in medical card entitlements and cost refunds have put pressure on households, while at the same time new household charges were introduced and fuel and health insurance hiked up.
"Members have spent their working lives in the service of the country and community and many of them (and their spouses) are now vulnerable and in declining years and health," it said.
"Their expectations of enjoying secure and fully merited retirement have been overturned by developments since 2007."
The association said the importance of agreement between government and employees over the most fundamental changes in public service since the foundation of the State could not be overstated.