Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
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15. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason he signed the ministerial order to enable the IAS scheme trustees to amend the terms of the scheme, despite the fact that many of the groups directly impacted by the changes had not agreed and were dissatisfied by the proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46312/14]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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The administration of the Irish Airlines (General Employees) Superannuation Scheme (IASS) is a matter for the Trustees of that scheme.  Resolution of its funding difficulties is primarily a matter for the Trustees, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme members and the Pensions Authority. 

On 14 November 2014, the Trustee of the IASS applied to the Pensions Authority for a Section 50 Direction and submitted a funding proposal to address the deficit in the IASS.  The Trustee also requested me to commence with immediate effect Sections 32(b)(1) and 32(b)(5) of the Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Act 1998, as inserted by Section 34(1) of the State Airports (Shannon Group) Act 2014 to facilitate implementation of the funding proposal should the Pensions Authority approve them.  The Trustee confirmed to me that it believes that this course of action is in the overall best interests of the members of the IASS as a whole.  As you know, this was also the view of the Expert Panel.

Following specific requests on behalf of deferred members that more funding be made available outside the IASS for that group, I subsequently engaged further with the employers in the matter. However, it was clear that the funding proposed by the employers is the maximum that can be achieved.  Therefore, having considered the Trustee’s request and reflected on all of the issues relating to the IASS, including the significant deficit of €750m, I signed the Commencement Order on 17 November 2014. 

I am very conscious of the difficulties that this will cause for many members but the risks that will arise for all members, the companies and the wider economy in the event of failure of this solution are even greater and this is the reason that I commenced these provisions.  I believe that the funding proposal put forward by the Trustee offers the best possible outcome for all members given the acute difficulties and unsustainable circumstances of this fund.


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