62. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Finance if he will bring forward his decision announced in his recent budget speech in respect of the maximum allowable pension fund, to a point in 2013 as opposed to 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57414/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): In Budget 2013, I announced that changes to the maximum allowable pension fund at retirement for tax purposes (the Standard Fund Threshold - SFT) and other possible changes to give effect to the commitment in the Programme for Government to cap taxpayers’ subsidies for pension schemes which deliver pension income of more than €60,000 will be put in place in 2014. The existing SFT regime is designed to cater for relatively small numbers of individual...

67. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance if legislative proposals furnished to him by this Deputy in relation to imposing a super-levy on bailed out bankers, former politicians and civil servants will be implemented; if not, if he will provide specific detailed reasons; if he has specific proposals of his own to tackle the unjust pensions currently being paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57477/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): As the Deputy will be aware, Government pension policy formed a key theme of my recent Budget. In framing that Budget, I considered a range of complex issues and proposals relating to pensions policy including the draft legislative proposals furnished by the Deputy. As the Deputy will appreciate, the pensions sector is a very important part of the financial services industry in Ireland and provides a service to enable people to make provision for...

91. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a detailed statement of the basis of the estimated yield in 2014 of €250 million from proposed changes to the maximum allowable pension fund; the persons he now intends to consult with regarding this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57618/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): On page A10 of the Budget 2013 booklet which accompanied my Budget speech, I indicated that the full-year yield from changes to the maximum allowable pension fund at retirement for tax purposes (the Standard Fund Threshold), together with other possible changes to be put in place in 2014 to give effect to the commitment in the Programme for Government to cap taxpayers’ subsidies for pension schemes which deliver pension income of more than €60,000, i...

302. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of the fact that a company (details supplied) has purchased smaller companies, if the employees of those smaller companies have been allowed to enter the Mercier pension. (Question 56311/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Pension scheme in Ireland are generally set up on a voluntary basis and arrangements for access to a scheme would generally be a matter for negotiations between the employers, employees and trade unions. Where an employer does not provide employees with access to an occupational pension scheme within six months of the commencement of employment, then the employer must provide the employee with access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (P...

369. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an explanation as to the necessity to require registered pension schemes to generate a funding standard reserve of 15% of scheme assets at a time when such schemes have difficulty, due both to the reduction in assets caused by the requirement to pay a levy of 0.6% of such assets for four years and the requirement to calculate scheme liabilities in the most conservative manner in relation to sovereign bonds, in achieving a minimum funding standard of 100%. (Question 56758/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Government is very aware of the serious funding challenge facing pension schemes. There are significant structural and affordability problems with defined benefit (DB) pension schemes due to a range of factors such as an under-estimation of longevity, poor investment decisions and the impact of the downturn in financial markets. The investment losses in Ireland were the highest in the OECD because of the high proportion of equities in pens...

370. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 116 of 30 June 2011, if, in respect of Government plans to increase the retirement age to 66 in 2014, there is a provision for those who are presently contractually obliged to retire at age 65 and will retire in 2014 and will therefore not be entitled to receive their contributory pensions until one year after they finish work , in particular in view of the fact that jobseeker’s allowance will now only support them for nine months of that year. (Question 56759/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Raising State pension age and the abolition of the State pension (transition) is a necessary step in ensuring the sustainability of pensions into the future. The population share of those aged 65 and over is expected to more than double between now and 2051, from 11% to approximately 23% in 2050. In contrast, the working age to pensioner ratio is projected to decline gradually from 5.3 /1 to 2.1/1. This has obvious and significant implicatio...

498. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a former employee of his Department is entitled to draw their pension now; if there is any arrangement to cash in his pension or transfer same. (Question 56984/12 asked on 18 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The person to whom the Deputy refers retired under the Cost Neutral Early Retirement scheme on the 29 February 2012 and received a lump sum in early March 2012. His pension is payable fortnightly by the Paymaster General’s Office with effect from 1 March 2012 and it is not possible to pay his pension in any other manner. 
 ...

95. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection if previously self-employed persons who paid an annual PRSI contribution, and who are now unemployed, can sign for PRSI credits in order to not break their entitlement to contributory old age pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 56088/12 asked on 13 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Self-employed persons are liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% which entitles them to access long-term benefits such as State pension (contributory) and widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension (contributory). 
PRSI credited contributions are an integral part of the social insurance system. For the most part they are linked to having an underlying entitlement to a social welfare payment while temporarily detached from th...

36. Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection if permission to early draw down pensions would positively influence younger persons to start their pension; her plans to tackle low pension investments especially by young persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54697/12 asked on 05 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Pensions are a long-term investment aimed at ensuring that people have an adequate income in retirement. Government policy supports this aspiration through generous tax reliefs. At present, people are generally only permitted to access their pension savings at the retirement age defined in their pension schemes. Schemes may also have early retirement provisions from age 50 and when retirement is caused by ill-health, benefits may be paid...

130. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question 39 of 7 November 2012, if he will respond to a query regarding a pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53711/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Deputy’s previous question related to a proposal from IBEC to allow access to certain pension savings on a pre-retirement basis which would represent a move from current principles and practice. The IBEC proposal is being examined as outlined in my reply. The circumstances outlined in the “details supplied” with this question appear to relate to the options available to an individual to access pension benefits where the pension fund is relative...

359. Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Questions No. 482 of 14 September 2011, and 414 of 3 July 2012, if his Department has progressed this matter and the reason this person has not been contacted as stated in the reply of 13 July; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54139/12 asked on 04 Dec 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): The Human Resources Division of my Department has been in contact with this person in an effort to locate a record of his service in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. This information is required in order to establish if he has superannuation entitlements on reaching age 65 in 2 years’ time. Unfortunately, with the limited information supplied by him, it has not been possible to compile a full service record ...

59. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will show separately in respect of the CEO of the National Treasury Management Agency and the CEO of the National Assets Management Agency, an estimate of the State’s pension contribution and the estimated value of each of their pension fund if they were employed to retirement age on present salary; if the pension due to be paid is based on final pensionable salary before or after the voluntary pay cut. (Question 53438/12 asked on 29 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Chief Executives of the NTMA and NAMA are members of the NTMA defined benefit superannuation scheme. Pension benefits for those who were members of the scheme prior to 1 January 2010 are based on final salary. The pension benefits of members who joined the scheme on or after 1 January 2010 are based on career average earnings. Unlike most public pension schemes which are funded on a pay as you go basis, the NTMA superannuation scheme is a funded ...

65. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to a proposal (details supplied) regarding the pension levy; if he has considered same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53498/12 asked on 29 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)(Deputy Michael Noonan): Officials of my Department and of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform continue to engage with third-party investors on how investment deals could be structured to facilitate the provision of funding for new infrastructure projects. 
With regard to tax-based incentives for investment in the economy, pension fund investments should be executed at a level of return comparable to that earned by other investors accepting...

87. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will ask Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to respond to the issues outlined in the attached letter (details supplied) relating to workers pension scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53382/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan) (Deputy Michael Noonan): I have been advised by IBRC that this is a matter which is for the Board of the company involved and the Trustees of the pension scheme involved. IBRC have no comment to make on this matter.
 ...

112. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide details of all pensions payments by year paid to a person (details supplied) from January 1985 to 2012. (Question 53134/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Mr. Peter Sutherland has been in receipt of a Ministerial Pension since 16th of July 2001. 
As per the table.
 Financial Year Gross Pension paid by PMG 2011 €49,403 2010 €52,632 2009 €52,632 2008 €51,537 2007 €49,790 2006 €47,243 2005 €44,079 2004 €43,782 2003 €38,542 2002 €51,949 * 
* includes arrears from 16 July 2001

For 2011, the figure shown is the gross pension payable following removal of th...

137. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will urgently respond to the critical issues outlined in the attached letter (details supplied) relating to a workers’ pension scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53385/12 asked on 28 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Deputy will understand that I am not in a position to comment directly on any ongoing discussions or negotiations being undertaken by the trustees of private pension schemes with employers, employees and their union representatives.
However, it is acknowledged there are significant structural and affordability problems with defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in Ireland due to a range of factors such as an under-estimation of longevity, p...

201. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend the financial emergency measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 to include the staff of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Allied Irish Bank and Irish Life under the provisions of the Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52259/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance(Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 202 together.
The legislation the Deputy refers to – the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 (No 38) – implemented a reduction in public service pensions to certain retired public servant pensioners.
It only applies to members of public services pension schemes and does not apply to semi-states or the private sector. Irrespective of the State’s shareholding in the institutions cited by...

202. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide figures, in tabular form, on the amount of revenue that would be raised for the Exchequer if the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 was amended to include the staff of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Allied Irish Bank and Irish Life respectively under the provisions of the Act. (Question 52260/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance(Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 202 together.
The legislation the Deputy refers to – the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 (No 38) – implemented a reduction in public service pensions to certain retired public servant pensioners.
It only applies to members of public services pension schemes and does not apply to semi-states or the private sector. Irrespective of the State’s shareholding in the institutions cited by...

238. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 207 of 13 November 2012, and 224 of 20 November 2012, if he will indicate the part or parts of Section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942 as inserted into that Act by Section 26 of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2003, which prevent him from indicating what forecasts were produced for the cost of addressing the pension deficit at Allied Irish Banks in the stress testing exercise at the start of 2011. (Question 52806/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)(Deputy Michael Noonan): I have been informed by the Central Bank that section 33AK(1A) prohibits disclosure by the Bank, its officers, employees, and agents, of confidential information concerning-
(a) the business of any person or body whether corporate or incorporate that has come to the person’s knowledge through the person’s office or employment with the Bank, or
(b) any matter arising in connection with the performance of the functions of t...

241. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason the group pension deficit at Allied Irish Bank increased from €763 million at the end of December 2011 to €1,457 million at 30 June 2012. (Question 52879/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 242 together.
I am informed that AIB sets out information on its pension deficit in the Bank’s annual and half yearly reports and accounts. The following is a summary of that disclosure.
As set out on Note 11 - Retirement Benefits - to the condensed consolidated interim financial statements of AIB Group at 30 June 2012, AIB Group‘s pension deficit is calculated under International Accounting Standard 19 for th...

242. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason the group pension liabilities at Allied Irish Bank increased from €4,562 million at the end of December 2011 to €5,466 million at 30 June 2012; if this increase is due solely to 2,500 redundancies sought; and if he will confirm that the liabilities have increased by an average of €361,600 for each of the 2,500 redundancies. (Question 52880/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 242 together.
I am informed that AIB sets out information on its pension deficit in the Bank’s annual and half yearly reports and accounts. The following is a summary of that disclosure.
As set out on Note 11 - Retirement Benefits - to the condensed consolidated interim financial statements of AIB Group at 30 June 2012, AIB Group‘s pension deficit is calculated under International Accounting Standard 19 for th...

243. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance in view of the statement in Allied Irish Bank’s report and accounts for the six months ending 30 June 2012 that the group pension deficit at that date was €1,457 million; if he will confirm the deficit that now exists in the AIB group pension scheme after the transfer of loan assets by AIB to the scheme, announced in August 2012, which have a book value of €1.1 billion. (Question 52881/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I have been informed by AIB that the bank reports the deficit under IAS 19 for financial reporting purposes twice a year, namely June and December after incorporating movements in the scheme liabilities including changes in actuarial assumptions and movement in the scheme assets. The December 2012 results will be announced in Quarter 1, 2013 and the deficit will take into account the loan assets transferred at fair value which will form part of the...

244. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to reports that Allied Irish Bank has confirmed that the first tranche of €700 million book value of loan assets transferred to the group pension fund in August 2012 as part of the total transfer of €1.1 billion book value loan assets resulted in a loss on these loan assets of €300 million, if he will confirm the loss incurred on the transfer to the AIB group pension fund of the remaining tranche of €400 million book value loan assets. (Question 52882/12 asked on 27 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): As disclosed in AIB’s half yearly financial report 2012, the first transfer of loans and receivables, which had a carrying value of €0.7 billion resulted in a loss of €0.3 billion. Any further disclosures in respect of the second transfer of loans and receivables will be disclosed in the Annual Report for 2012 due for release in Quarter 1 2013. I have been informed that all the assets transferred had been scheduled for deleveraging within the Group...

78. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will furnish particular details of each person who has been awarded added years under the professional added years for superannuation purposes scheme for institutes of technology for the period 2002 to date in 2012; if he will detail for each person identifying the institute of technology, the qualifications required for the relevant post, the length of time to obtain such qualifications, the actual years of service and the number of added years granted. (Question 51945/12 asked on 22 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): The professional added years terms for members of the Education Sector Superannuation Scheme in Institutes of Technology were introduced by the Department of the Environment in 1987, Circular S6/1987.
In accordance with the relevant pension scheme rules, there is provision for the granting of a gross award of up to ten professional added years where the minimum age limit or qualifications and/or experience specified for appointment to a pe...

19. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Finance if he is considering introducing legislative provisions along the lines of a public service pension deduction in the case of pensions being paid to senior executives in State supported banks whose pension funds have also received substantial transfers since State support commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50494/12 asked on 15 Nov 2012 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Government shares the abhorrence of the public at these extravagant pensions but its scope for action to claw back or reduce such entitlements is limited due to constitutional and legal reasons which are well known to the members of the House. The Deputy will be aware of the action taken by Allied Irish Banks requesting a cohort of former senior executives to consider taking a voluntary reduction in their pension entitlement with one former CEO ...