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Ryan told failure to sign off on 2pc hike for 7,000 An Post pensioners is ‘callous’


Environment Minister Eamon Ryan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has been told that an alleged failure by his department to sign off on a 2pc increase for 7,000 An Post pensioners is “disrespectful and callous”.

In a letter to the minister, Seán McDonagh, principal staff representative of the group of unions, says officials at his department have not confirmed a payment date for the pension hike due since January.  

The letter says the “inordinate delay” is causing unnecessary financial hardship.

“You will appreciate that the An Post pensioners are at a loss as to the reason for the delay in the payment of their entitlements,” Mr McDonagh states in the letter.

“Such a delay would be hard to comprehend at the best of times, but when the scheme is in such robust health and in the context of such high inflation at this time, the unexplained delay is disrespectful and callous.”

The letter states that the group of unions – which includes the Communications Workers Union, Fórsa, and the AHCPS – raised the delay with An Post management, who raised it with the department.

It says “for some reason” department officials failed to confirm a payment date.

“These pensioners, many of whom are in their twilight years, are due payment of a 2pc pensionable increase effective from January 1, 2022,” he says. “Regrettably, approval of the payment, for reasons which are neither rational nor understandable, has been subject to unacceptable and inordinate delay.”

He says the group of unions agreed changes to the An Post pension scheme in 2013.

Mr McDonagh adds that changes and curtailment of benefits were agreed by the trustees, the board of An Post, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  

He says the agreement states that any increases in pensionable salary are either 2pc, or based on basic pay rises or increases in inflation, whichever is lowest.

Mr McDonagh says the limits apply to increases to pensions and deferred pensions. Two previous increases have been applied.

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His letter outlines that the difference between basic pay and pensionable pay is 9.25pc, including the 2pc owed, while since 2008 modest increases amounting to 2.5pc have applied to pensions.

“Primarily because of the sacrifices of staff and pensioners, the An Post superannuation fund has improved significantly,” he writes.

He says it reported a surplus of €580 million at the end of last year, compared to a deficit of €241m in 2013.

“Therefore, the funding of the increase is, without question, available, with the fund now moving towards self-­sufficiency,” he says.

He urges the minister to put arrangements in place to ensures no future delays arise.

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