Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Defence Forces Pensions
I welcome the Minister of State's acknowledgment that there is a problem. In fact, it is a substantial problem and the whole system seems to be in complete disarray. If the meetings to which he referred are meaningful at all, they will uncover the scope of the problem. Looking at the abatement position, it is not even applied evenly across Departments. Nobody seems to know what the rules are for Defence Forces members or how to apply them. Some members who move to certain State agencies and Departments are seeing their pensions cut while others are not. Members going to work in semi-State agencies do not see their pensions at all but members going into Departments do. It is not even clear whether the policy is being applied evenly within Departments. The more than 1,000 highly skilled and trained people who left the service between 2016 and 2017 and who cannot see out their remaining years without working are being severely impacted by this. I am glad the Minister of State is looking at the issue, but I urge him to ensure it is addressed urgently and that a substantial overhaul of the system is undertaken. While I recognise that some of the measures he referred to were introduced for the Civil Service for good reasons, the Defence Forces are a different category entirely.