Monday 24 September 2018

O'Dea condemns CIÉ on pensions

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea made a series of allegations in the Dáil about CIÉ’s handling of the two schemes, which are barely solvent. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea made a series of allegations in the Dáil about CIÉ’s handling of the two schemes, which are barely solvent. Photo: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

CIÉ has assured members of its pension schemes that it will not impose cuts to their benefits after it had been accused of leaving their livelihoods in shreds.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea made a series of allegations in the Dáil about the company's handling of the two schemes, which are barely solvent.

He accused CIÉ of trying to impose cuts without consulting with 10,000 scheme members and said it had underfunded the schemes to the tune of €80m in recent years.

Mr O'Dea also claimed that there was a "conflict of interest" issue, as a member of staff, who he did not name, holds the dual role of Group PR, with responsibility for pensions, while also representing the CIÉ board at talks.

He said pensioners and scheme members had approached him and claimed that they had been "misled" by the board on proposals to cut their benefits.

Mr O'Dea said there were five pensions at CIÉ in 1993; three were in deficit and two in surplus. In 1994, it was agreed to amalgamate all five and take a €73m deficit off the books.

He claimed that in return members were given assurances that the board would guarantee that the schemes remained solvent each year.

However, CIÉ had underfunded them by €80m.

Mr O'Dea said a new proposal to further restrict benefits was being submitted without consultation with either staff or unions.

A CIÉ spokesman said it would not impose any change without the agreement of the members and would continue to contribute to the schemes in accordance with the rules.

The spokesman denied that there was any conflict of interest issue.

Irish Independent

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