Monthly Archives: June 2013

FAQs – Haddington Road Agreement

For the information of ARCO members the following is the link to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s FAQs on the Haddington Road Agreement: http://per.gov.ie/faqs-on-haddington-road-agreement-2/

Questions 36 to 44 contain material on pension-related changes due on 1 July 2013, as set out in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013 enacted on 5 June: http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/bills28/acts/2013/a1813.pdf

For ease of reference, the Explanatory Memorandum that accompanied this legislation is available on the following link: http://per.gov.ie/2013/05/23/publication-of-financial-emergency-measures-in-the-public-interest-bill-2013/

Members will note that although a timescale for the restoration of public service pay cuts has been provided in the answer to Question 23, no timescale has been provided within the FAQs for the restoration of pension cuts. ARCO will seek clarification on this.

Lakelands Area Retreat & Cancer Care Centre – Burren Walk

In early July 2013, the Irish Air Corps and associates will conduct a Mizen to Malin Charity Cycle in order to raise money and awareness for the Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Care Centre (www.larcc.ie).

LARCC is a unique Cancer Support Centre, situated in the beautiful grounds of Multyfarnham Franciscan Friary, in Co Westmeath. The Centre has a strong association with ex Air Corps Commandant Frank Russell (39th Class) who was its Co-Founder in 2002, and has himself recovered from a second bout of Cancer.

In conjunction with the Cycling Challenge, the Irish Air Corps, in association with LARCC, will host a guided walk in the fabulous Burren area of Co Clare on Wednesday 3rd July 2013. The walk should last approximately 5 hours and will be led by a well known local guide and Burren expert, Mary Howard from Fanore. Frank will be there on behalf of the Committee and to sample the Burren air for himself. It will be a day for old comrades and friends to meet and swop yarns while stretching the legs for a great cause. 

Details

  1. 5Hr+ Guided moderate walk  in the Burren Co. Clare
  2. Start 10:00Hrs on 03 July
  3. RV: Fanore Beach Car Park
  4. Bring you own lunch/gear and drinks
  5. No dogs allowed!

In order to raise money for this worthwhile cause, walkers are requested to donate a minimum of €50 to the Mizen to Malin Charity account below. For those unable to participate, please feel free to make a  personal donation in support of the Charity. Thanking you in advance for your generosity.  It is hoped that the Walk will become an annual event in various scenic/historic areas of the country, with the Burren as the launch pad.

Details

  1. Sort code:  90-09-14               Bank Account No:  24639466

    • Include Payee name when lodging all monies.
  2. Cheques payable to: AIR CORPS CHARITY CYCLE BENEFIT FUND

    • Cheques NOT to be crossed or endorsed.
    • Cheques to be posted to:                                 

Comdt Con Walsh

OC 101 SQN,

No 1 Operations Wing,

Casements Aerodrome,

Baldonnel,

Dublin 22.

 

For further details on this unique day contact Lt T Mullarkey at officersmess@irish-air-corps.ie  or  phone 01 – 4037545. 

Alliance of Retired Public Servants

The Alliance of Retired Public Servants is a grouping that has met over the past number of months with a view to representing the views of pensioners.  ARCO has attended a number of these meetings and has decided to join the group.  The Alliance is now about to establish itself formally.

The Alliance has made representations to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D., in relation to the restoration of full pension entitlements in the future.  The Minister’s response is contained in the Dáil record of 28 May 2013 (page 28-29 of this link and quoted below).

http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2013052800029?opendocument

 “I would add that as recently as yesterday, I met representatives of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants to hear at first hand their concerns about the impact of pension reductions on the lives of public service pensioners. As I indicated to them, I would genuinely wish economic circumstances were otherwise but the reality is the Government must continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the economic survival of the State, and this inevitably impacts across society.

I also informed the alliance representatives that it is my intention, as a matter of priority, to move towards reducing the burden of the public service pension reduction, with the initial focus on people in receipt of low pensions, at the earliest date economic progress permits. I am very aware of how critical this matter is for pensioners and I intend to keep this matter under review to see when we can begin to take steps to reduce the burden on public service pensioners in particular.”

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The matter was again alluded to by Mr. Brian Hayes T.D., Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works, at the Committee Stage of the 2013 Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill on 29 May 2013 – see extract below.

http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2013052900020?opendocument

“A number of Deputies raised the issue of the lack of consultation with public service pensioner groups about the introduction of revised public service pension reduction, PSPR, measures. It is worth pointing out when the first PSPR was introduced on 1 January 2011 there was absolutely no consultation with any pensioner groups and the measure was introduced unilaterally. On this occasion the Minister, Deputy Howlin, has introduced a further PSPR measure which will impact on less than a quarter of public service pensioners and the Minister and officials have met the Alliance of Retired Public Servants. He felt it was very important to show them the courtesy of meeting them to listen to their very genuine concerns and explain to them why, in the interests of equity, it was necessary that a further contribution would be sought from higher paid pensioners. As the Minister explained to them, it gives the Government no pleasure to have to take these measures, and we would all genuinely wish economic circumstances were otherwise, but the reality is the Government must take steps to ensure the economic survival of the State and this impacts throughout society. The additional reductions of between 2% and 5% could not be regarded as excessive, particularly at the lower bands.

On the question of representation, the Minister indicated to the Alliance of Retired Public Servants there would be advantages for public service pensioners and the Government to having a formalised structure, such as the alliance, for ongoing engagement on public service pension matters. I know Mr. Mulvey alluded to this in his remarks over the weekend. Effectively, they were not part of the process because they are not employees of the State; they are pensioners under existing conditions.

On a point of clarification, there was some confusion that the new PSPR rates applying to pensions of €32,500 would also be applied to spouses' pensions at €16,000. This is not correct. The only spouses' pensions that will be affected by these measures will be those spouses' pensions which are themselves over the €32,500 threshold. Retired public servants on a pension of €32,500 will have no reduction. The additional contribution or reduction, call it what one will, only kicks in at €32,500 and is progressive from 2% to 5%.”

Pensions Reduction – How it affects YOU

ARCO members will have been following the negotiations leading to the publication of the Labour Relations Commission's recommendations for a revised Public Service Stability Agreement 2013 to 2016 (The Haddington Road Agreement). In particular they will be anxious to know how the agreement will impact on their pensions. ARCO has been maintaining ongoing contact with Pensions’ Section of the Department of Defence to seek this clarification on behalf of its members.

ARCO has been informed that the existing Public Service Pension Reductions, which have been in place since 1 January 2011, (shown immediately below for ease of reference) will continue to apply to pensions in payment prior to 1 March 2012 where the amount is currently below €32,500. So the first €12,000 is still exempt, any amount over €12,000 but not over €24,000 is reduced by 6%; and any amount over €24,000 (but not over €32,500) is reduced by 9%.

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