Monday 11 December 2017

'40,000 of us will be dead by the time pensions restored'

Minister Paschal Donohoe Picture: Tom Burke
Minister Paschal Donohoe Picture: Tom Burke
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Tens of thousands of retired public servants will die before their pensions are restored, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has been told.

The Alliance of Retired Public Servants (ARPS) has called for pension restoration for retired public servants to be brought forward from the current projected date of 2021.

The Alliance's call is contained in its submission to the Public Service Pay Commission, which is expected to issue its report on public pay to the Government in the coming days.

The Government is adamant pension reform is needed and the issue is set to be a key battleground in the coming talks on public sector pay.

But ARPS chairperson Brian Burke said the Programme for Partnership Government commits to fully restoring pensions for retired public servants by 2021.

"On average about 4,000 retired public servants die each year so if the current completion date of 2021 for full restoration is stuck with, then over 40,000 people will have died by that time on reduced pensions - pensions that they contributed to during their working lives.

"This is why we think it's only fair that the Government should bring forward the date from 2021," he said.

The Alliance of Retired Public Servants is comprised of 24 pensioner organisations representing over 140,000 retired public servants including civil servants, teachers, nurses, doctors, and gardaí.

"Another issue the Alliance wants tackled by the Government is the position of pensioners on low pensions - those on €12,000 or less which equates to a weekly payment of just over €230 - who did not have their pensions cut, but who haven't had an increase since 2007," Mr Burke said.

"Over the 10-year period since 2007, prices - particularly the costs of healthcare, energy and heating which are important items for older people - have risen placing an undue strain on very modest incomes."

Mr Burke said the Alliance is also seeking the putting in place of a formal process of engagement between pensioners' representatives and the Government.

"Workers in the private and public sectors have access to formal processes for engaging with their employers about their pay and conditions.

"Retired public servants are looking to have similar formal processes put in place," he added.

Irish Independent

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