Thursday, 1 June 2017
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
The Alliance of Retired Public Servants recently posted a startling fact, namely, that around 4,000 retired public sector pensioners pass on every year. The cuts in pensions was one of the cruellest of many cruel cuts over the past number of years. The Minister said an effort was made to restore some of those cuts, and there has been, but it has been too slow for many retired public servant.
In our alternative budget last year, we advocated that for those in receipt of a gross pension income band of on or below €34,132 the restoration they would receive in 2017 and 2018 would be combined, alongside last year's budget change. That would have cost €6.8 million and accelerated the restoration for that cohort of pensioners. Of course, the Minister's party and Government chose to cut taxes instead.
In respect of the PRD, the Minister has chosen to put that on the negotiating table in respect of the current pay talks as a bargaining chip. He has also put faster accrual pensions on the table. He failed to note that they are in place for a reason. They apply to public servants in uniform who are statutorily required to retire early.
I understand and accept that the issue of pensions is difficult. It has to be addressed, in terms of public and private sector pensions. Many issues need to be addressed, but they should not be a bargaining chip in terms of pay talks that should be dealing at pay restoration, which we all accept needs to happen over a reasonable time period, along with equal work for equal pay and all of the other issues such as retention in the in the public service and sectoral issues.