Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
320. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position of retired members of An Garda Síochána in respect of pension entitlements following the FEMPI cuts from 1 March 2012; his plans to restore parity in pension entitlement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15172/20]
Public service pensions, including those of retired members of An Garda Síochána, were reduced under the FEMPI legislation by way of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). The PSPR was introduced on 1 January 2011 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (FEMPI) 2010 and extended on 1 July 2013 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013.
As the Deputy may be aware, a three-stage partial reversal of PSPR was provided for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015, occurring on 1 January in each of the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provided for the further lessening of the impact of PSPR in each of the years 2019 and 2020.
Following these PSPR amelioration measures, since 1 January 2020 the vast majority of public service pensions – an estimated 97% plus – are no longer subject to PSPR. A residual group of some 3,000 - 4,000 high-value pensions remain affected (with the majority of these being pre-March 2012 awarded pensions calculated on pre-FEMPI salary rates).
Section 27 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 states that no later than 31 December 2020, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will issue an order that will specify a date for the removal of PSPR from that residual group of PSPR-affected pensions.
Separate to PSPR amelioration, a pension increase policy with respect to pre-existing scheme pensions, including the Garda pension scheme, was agreed in 2017 under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 (PSSA) based on the principle of “pay parity”.
Under that policy, pay increases granted to serving staff over the course of the PSSA are passed on to those pensions awarded under pre-existing public service schemes where the salary on which the pension is based does not exceed the salary of serving staff with the same grade and scale point, after the pay increase has been applied. If it qualifies, the pension is eligible for an increase to the extent that this will ensure alignment with the pay of serving staff.
Circulars in relation to this policy (and with respect to PSPR amelioration) have been issued by my Department, the most recent being Circular 19/2019 (available online at: www.gov.ie/en/circular/b5d982-circular-192019-further-instruction-on-the-pension-increase-policy-i/). This policy applies for the duration of the PSSA.