185. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she or her predecessors have taken to address the concerns of an association (details supplied) that is of the view that decisions were taken without its input in 2010 in relation to its pension scheme which closed off the defined benefit pension and replaced it with a defined contribution scheme and changed rules and governance arrangements; the efforts that have been made to resolve these matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19233/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pensions Authority. The duties of a pension scheme trustee include administering a scheme in trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequent...

184. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she is satisfied that the trustees of a pension scheme (details supplied) have acted in the best interest of all beneficiaries and in particular the best interests of an association; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19232/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pensions Authority. The duties of a pension scheme trustee include administering a scheme in trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequent...

183. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she and her predecessors have taken to address the concerns of members of an association (details supplied) about their pensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19231/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pensions Authority. The duties of a pension scheme trustee include administering a scheme in trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequent...

250. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the arrangements which exist in the case of pension scheme wind-ups which mandate the purchase of expensive annuities when members would prefer choice, for example an approved retirement fund. (Question 48640/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended. The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequently any decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by the relevant leg...

3. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on whether the An Post pension scheme and the fact that certain pension scheme trustees may have a conflict of interest between their role as a trustee and Executive Directors of an Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29625/13 asked on 20 Jun 2013 - Pension Provisions)

(Deputy Brendan Howlin): This question is properly for the Minister for Social Protection and the response I am giving is from her Department. The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for the Minister for Social Protection to comment on issues arising in regard to a particular pension scheme.
In general, pension schemes in Ireland are established under trust. The trust deed and scheme rules provide for the appointment and responsibilities of the trustees of a scheme. Under ...

109. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will take steps to ensure that legislative changes are introduced in order to emphasise employer responsibility for pension schemes, and that it is the employer who should fund future pension protection schemes, as is the case in other European Union countries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16842/15 asked on 28 Apr 2015 - Pension Provisions)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Section 121 of Pensions Act requires employers who are not operating a pension scheme or who are operating a scheme which limits eligibility for membership to provide access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account.
Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. There has never been a statutory obligation on employers under Irish law to contribute to their pension scheme. R...

328. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that Córas Iompair Éireann submitted severely flawed funding submissions to the Pensions Authority that do not fully reflect the reality of the situation with the current and future funding of the defined benefit pensions of up to 10,000 members of the CIÉ pension scheme. (Question 5093/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Córas Iompair Éireann)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 328 and 329 together.
Scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended. The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequently any decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occup...

100. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the status of a pension for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10. (Question 2915/16 asked on 26 Jan 2016 - Pension Provisions)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Resolution of any funding difficulties in pension schemes is primarily a matter for the scheme trustees, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme members and the Pensions Authority. In terms of supervision and oversight, the Pensions Act provides the framework for the regulation of occupational pension schemes. The Act requires that trustees of pension schemes carry out the duties imposed on them by all law (includi...

336. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Pensions Board has advised it is not qualified to determine whether an Act of the Oireachtas establishing a pension scheme has been complied with and that, as it is limited to the Pensions Act, it does not have the power to ensure the trustees carry out the duties imposed on them by that Act (details supplied); the actions she proposes taking to provide the Pensions Board with the competence necessary to fulfil its statutory obligation under the Pensions Act to ensure that trustees carry out the duties imposed on them by all law including the Pensions Act and to enable it to meet its key objective of providing authoritative guidance aimed at achieving voluntary compliance with the Pensions Act and other relevant legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24530/14 asked on 10 Jun 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 336 and 337 together. 
The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on issues arising in a particular pension scheme. 
Pension schemes in Ireland are generally established under trust law and are therefore governed by the trust deed and rules of the scheme. In this context, the trustees of the scheme must comply with the rules of the scheme and under trust law are required to ac...

300. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will introduce legislative changes in order to emphasise employer responsibility for pension schemes and for funding future pension protection schemes, as is the case in most other EU countries. (Question 6418/14 asked on 11 Feb 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): In developing the measures contained in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act (No.2) 2013, consideration was given to imposing an obligation on employers to secure a minimum level of funding before a scheme could be wound up and to the provision of a pension protection scheme. You will be aware that defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. There has never been a statutory obligation...

337. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that her Department supports the conclusion by the Pensions Board that a complaint of failure by the trustees to comply with the law, trust deed and rules when amending the benefit structure of active members of a pension scheme does not fall within the board’s remit and the accusation by the board chairperson that the complainant made very serious allegations against a number of parties including the board (details supplied); if she will provide information on the criteria used and reasons for deciding the complaint falls outside the board’s remit as well as details of and justification for the very serious allegations the chairperson has accused the complainant of making; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24531/14 asked on 10 Jun 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 336 and 337 together. 
The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on issues arising in a particular pension scheme. 
Pension schemes in Ireland are generally established under trust law and are therefore governed by the trust deed and rules of the scheme. In this context, the trustees of the scheme must comply with the rules of the scheme and under trust law are required to ac...

189. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on whether legislation is adequate to ensure that trustees of pension schemes act in the best interests of all beneficiaries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19237/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pensions Authority. The Pensions Act 1990, together with the trust deed and scheme rules sets out the trustees’ duties and responsibilities. Under this Act, trustees of pension schemes have the main responsibility for the administration of sche...

39. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection his views on whether it is appropriate that corporate trustees and trustees can withhold additional benefits to members of occupational pension schemes while securing indemnities for their personal well-being as the assets of the scheme deteriorate; his plans to deal with pension governance in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28778/16 asked on 06 Oct 2016 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pension Authority.
Legislation together with the trust deed and scheme rules sets out the trustees’ duties and responsibilities. Trustees of pension schemes must act in the best financial interests of the scheme members and must serve all beneficiaries of the scheme impa...

70. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the implications of a court ruling (details supplied) on the provision of defined benefit pension schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33284/14 asked on 17 Sep 2014 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The ruling in this case is noted. 
However, I would point out that defined benefit pension schemes are normally established under trust and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. The obligation imposed on an employer and on scheme members is normally agreed and set out in the trust deed and rules of each scheme. The trust deeds and rules differ from scheme to scheme and reflect the parameters on the level of obligation of...

719. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to improve the scrutiny of pension trustees in particular regarding situations in which they close a scheme to distribute the assets in a fair and timely fashion. (Question 39721/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pension Authority.
Legislation together with the trust deed and scheme rules sets out the trustees’ duties and responsibilities. Trustees of pension schemes must act in the best financial interests of the scheme members and must serve all benefic...

936. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she will take to safeguard workers’ defined benefit pension schemes; the further steps she will take to prevent solvent companies walking away from their obligations to their employees in defined benefit pension schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11918/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 935 and 936 together.
The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on issues relating to a particular pension scheme. However, generally speaking, trustees of pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under the Pensions Act, under trust law, and under other relevant legislation. 
They must administer the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and r...

388. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the grounds on which workers, on an individual basis, can be moved from a defined benefit pension system to another system without their agreement (Question 25561/13 asked on 28 May 2013 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Occupational pension schemes in Ireland are normally set up on a voluntary basis by a sponsoring employer. The pension scheme would generally be established under Trust. The trustees of such scheme have duties under trust law to carry out the trust in accordance with the law and terms of the trust deed and rules and at all times to act in the best interests of scheme members. In addition, the trustees are required to comply with their duties ...

413. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will confirm that before deciding to support the conclusion by the chairperson of the Pensions Authority that a complaint of failure by the trustees to comply with the law, trust deed and rules when amending the benefit structure of active pensioners does not fall within the board’s remit and her accusation that the complainant made very serious allegations against a number of parties, including the Pensions Authority (details supplied), her Department obtained a written report detailing the criteria applied and reasons for the chairperson’s conclusion as well as details of and justification for the very serious allegations she has accused the complainant of making; and if she will provide this information to the complainant as the chairperson, in breach of her statutory obligation under freedom of information legislation, has refused to do so. (Question 29654/14 asked on 08 Jul 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 414 together. 
The remit of the Pensions Authority is determined by the provisions in the Pensions Act. Its remit does not extend to the supervision of the trust deed and rules of a pension scheme. It is not within the remit of the Pensions Authority to ensure that the trustees of a pension scheme carry out the duties imposed on them by law other than the duties set out for the trustees in ...

83. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she is taking to limit the arbitrary powers of pension scheme corporate trustees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46415/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): All dealings and decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of occupational pension schemes are governed by legislation and enforced through the supervision of the Pension Authority.
Legislation together with the trust deed and scheme rules set out the trustees’ duties and responsibilities. Trustees of pension schemes must act in the best financial interests of the scheme members and must serve all beneficiar...

935. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the closure of a company’s (details supplied) defined benefit pension scheme; her plans to take action on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11917/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 935 and 936 together.
The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on issues relating to a particular pension scheme. However, generally speaking, trustees of pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under the Pensions Act, under trust law, and under other relevant legislation. 
They must administer the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and r...

94. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will confirm that the Pensions Board has a statutory obligation to ensure that trustees of a pension scheme falling within its remit comply with the rules of the scheme trust deed and that a complaint of failure by trustees to do so is a matter for the Pensions Board (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26330/14 asked on 18 Jun 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): You will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on issues arising in a particular pension scheme or any individual complaint. 
The Pensions Act makes provision for the resolution of disputes arising from the operation of occupational pension schemes. Problems in relation to schemes can arise due to:
A breach of enabling legislation, other than the Pensions Act,
A breach of undertakings by the employer,
A breach of the ...

329. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to investigate if the election process to the CIÉ pension fund management committee was in compliance with regulations. (Question 5095/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Córas Iompair Éireann)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 328 and 329 together.
Scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended. The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequently any decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occup...

117. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on corrspondence (details supplied) regarding defined benefit pension schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3223/14 asked on 23 Jan 2014 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Deputy will appreciate that it is not appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to an individual pension scheme. 
Defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. When a DB scheme is set up, the level of employer and employee contributions is agreed and established in contract in the Trust Deeds and Rules of each scheme. The Trust Deeds and Rules differ from scheme to ...

414. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 336 and 337 of 10 June and Question No. 94 of 18 June 2014, where she responded as if she has been asked to comment on issues arising in a particular pension scheme, if she will acknowledge that the issues raised with her Department refer solely to the Pensions Authority not complying with its statutory obligation under the Pensions Act to ensure scheme trustees carry out the duties imposed on them by law including the Pensions Act and the ineffective oversight of the Pensions Authority by her Department which has resulted in the undermining of the statutory regulation of pension schemes falling within the remit of the Pensions Authority. (Question 29655/14 asked on 08 Jul 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 and 414 together. 
The remit of the Pensions Authority is determined by the provisions in the Pensions Act. Its remit does not extend to the supervision of the trust deed and rules of a pension scheme. It is not within the remit of the Pensions Authority to ensure that the trustees of a pension scheme carry out the duties imposed on them by law other than the duties set out for the trustees in ...

34. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the attempt by a company (details supplied) to unilaterally alter its workers’ defined benefit pension scheme; if proposed legislation to protect such schemes will be forthcoming in order to cease such attempts by employers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2051/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on issues relating to a particular pension scheme. However, generally speaking, trustees of pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act. They must administer the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. The provisions of the Pensions Act are enforced ...

387. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of the fact that UK former employees of Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta, who are members of the IASS will have their pension entitlements fully protected but their Irish counterparts presently face substantial reductions in their expected benefits, the action she proposes to take to ensure that this does not happen and that an equivalent protection is provided for Irish workers. (Question 19559/14 asked on 30 Apr 2014 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to a particular pension scheme. 
However, I can advise that the provision in the trust deed/scheme rules will determine the pension rights of scheme members. Where a pension scheme operates across EU Member States, the employees who are employed in a different Member State (i.e., the host Member State) may be subject to certain provisions (i.e., t...

62. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a breakdown, in tabular form, of the number of employees in semi-State companies with pensions; the number of persons in each company who have deferred pensions; if she envisages allowing persons with deferred pensions to have a say in who will represent them on boards of trustees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12614/15 asked on 26 Mar 2015 - Semi-State Bodies Pensions)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Department does not collect the information sought by the Deputy. 
The trust deed of a pension scheme sets out the basis on which the trustees of a pension scheme are appointed or elected, and the law does not put any restriction on this. Section 62 of the Pensions Act already provides for a procedure whereby members representatives can be elected. However, the procedure must be invoked as it does not apply automatically.
 ...

95. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce legislation on pension protection in line with other countries (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53441/13 asked on 12 Dec 2013 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. There has never been a statutory obligation on employers under Irish law to contribute to their pension scheme (although schemes rules can place some level of obligation).
Most defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland were established under a trust deed. As part of the process of establishing each occupational pension scheme, an emp...

33. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she is considering introducing new pensions legislation to protect former employees who deferred their pensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39158/14 asked on 14 Oct 2014 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Pensions Act provides for the preservation of benefits for members of occupational pension schemes who leave employment before their normal pensionable age for any reason, other than death, provided they satisfy certain qualifying conditions. The preserved benefit is a proportion of the long service benefit to which the member would have been entitled if he or she had remained in employment until normal pensionable age.
If a ...

337. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Social Protection if her Department is aware of reports that former Dublin Airport Authority workers who are deferred members of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme residing in the UK will be given protection of their full pension entitlements; if her Department will examine this issue and clarify the reason a similar arrangement could not be introduced for the majority of deferred members in this State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20876/14 asked on 13 May 2014 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): You will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to a particular pension scheme. However, I can advise that the provision in the trust deed/scheme rules will determine the pension rights of scheme members. Where a pension scheme operates across EU Member States, the employees who are employed in a different Member State (i.e., the host Member State) may be subject to certain provisions (i.e., the socia...

64. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce legislation to place an onus on employers to adequately fund their pension schemes and keep pension promises made to workers. (Question 21211/15 asked on 28 May 2015 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.
Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. There has never been a statutory obligation on employers under Irish law to contribute to their pension scheme. Rather, when a defined benefit scheme is set up, the level of employer and employee contributions is agreed and established in contract in each schemes Trust Deeds ...

65. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce legislation to require employers to fund pension protection schemes. (Question 21212/15 asked on 28 May 2015 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.
Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. There has never been a statutory obligation on employers under Irish law to contribute to their pension scheme. Rather, when a defined benefit scheme is set up, the level of employer and employee contributions is agreed and established in contract in each schemes Trust Deeds ...

178. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 58 of 17 September 2014, which confirmed that an important provision of the Pensions Bill was the establishment of a Pensions Board, now the Pensions Authority, which would, where necessary, take legal proceedings against the defaulting trustees or any other culpable person who failed to fulfil the duties imposed upon them by law, including trust law and the Pensions Act; whether she will further confirm that, as stated in the Pensions Authority publication (details supplied), the duties of pension scheme trustees under trust law include administering the trust in accordance with trust law, all other law and the terms of the trust deed and rules; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45224/14 asked on 25 Nov 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Pensions Authority has published a range of information booklets on various aspects of pension provision. The booklet you refer to provides guidance on the duties and responsibilities of the trustees of a pension scheme. In the introduction, it states that the trustees “have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended. Section 3 of the booklet, it ...

62. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding levies on ESB pensions (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7198/14 asked on 12 Feb 2014 - Pensions Levy Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The pension fund levy is a matter under my responsibility. I announced in my Budget 2014 speech that the 0.6% Pension Fund Levy introduced to fund the Jobs Initiative in 2011 will be abolished from the 31st of December 2014. I have, however, introduced an additional levy on pension funds at 0.15% for 2014 and 2015. I am doing this to, among other things, continue to help fund the Jobs Initiative.
The reduced VAT rate of 9% on tourism and certain ot...

56. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the ESB Retired Staff Association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11660/14 asked on 11 Mar 2014 - Pensions Levy Issues)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The pension fund levy is a matter under my responsibility. I announced in my Budget 2014 speech that the 0.6% Pension Fund Levy introduced to fund the Jobs Initiative in 2011 will be abolished from the 31st of December 2014. I have, however, introduced an additional levy on pension funds at 0.15% for 2014 and 2015. I am doing this to, among other things, continue to help fund the Jobs Initiative.  
The reduced VAT rate of 9% on tourism and certain o...

397. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Social Protection the length of time after a pension scheme closes that members can challenge the decisions of the trustees, or submit queries to the Ombudsman; if there is a statute of limitations on such queries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9233/14 asked on 25 Feb 2014 - Pension Schemes Issues)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 395 and 397 together.
The trust deed and rules of the scheme will usually set down the various circumstances in which a scheme can be wound up. Typically, these would include the employer:
- notifying the trustees of its intention to stop contributions to the scheme
- failing to make contributions due to the scheme within a specified period
- going into liquidation
- being bought by another company and that co...

30. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans to address the serious impact of changes in pensions legislation which allows trustees to reduce the payments to current pensioners and deferred members. (Question 17328/15 asked on 06 May 2015 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Section 50 of the Pensions Act was amended in 2009 and again in 2013 to assist both the employers and the trustees of defined benefit pension schemes respond to the funding difficulties encountered by many defined benefit pension schemes. These changes provide for the sharing of the risk of scheme underfunding across all scheme members.
It is a matter for the trustees of a scheme, who are required under trust law to act in the be...

395. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Social Protection if there is a legal timeframe for trustees to wind up a pension scheme in the event of a company closure; what that time limit is; the penalties that are incurred by going over this timeline; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9231/14 asked on 25 Feb 2014 - Pension Schemes Issues)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 395 and 397 together.
The trust deed and rules of the scheme will usually set down the various circumstances in which a scheme can be wound up. Typically, these would include the employer:
- notifying the trustees of its intention to stop contributions to the scheme
- failing to make contributions due to the scheme within a specified period
- going into liquidation
- being bought by another company and that co...

56. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if proposed legislation on pension schemes will benefit persons in CIÉ or a company (details supplied) that faces threats to its pensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8436/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on issues relating to particular pension schemes. However, generally speaking, trustees of pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under the Pensions Act, under trust law, and under other relevant legislation. They must administer the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. The provisions of the Pensions Act are enforced ...

97. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that pensioners are given a right of audience with pension scheme trustees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53448/13 asked on 12 Dec 2013 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are in general set up under trust. The trustees of such pension schemes have a fiduciary duty under trust law and the Pensions Act to act in the best interest of all scheme members. In addition, the Pensions Act provides for further safeguards to protect the interest of pensioners. In the event of the wind up of a pension scheme the provision in the Pensions Act gives priority to the benefits of pe...

336. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding deferred pensions of individuals in the context of pension schemes in difficulty under the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2386/14 asked on 21 Jan 2014 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The Social Welfare and Pensions (No.2) Act 2013 amended the Pensions Act and changes the manner in which the assets of a defined benefit pension scheme are distributed in the event of the wind up of a pension scheme. It also extended the options available to trustees in any consideration of a restructure of scheme benefits under section 50 of the Pensions Act.
The change to the wind up rules provided for the application of different wind up r...

52. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her views on amending section 50 of the Pensions Act 1990, as amended by section 35 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2012, in order to offer more protection to employees against reductions in their pension entitlements, in view of the growing number of cases like IASS and Tara Mines pensioners experiencing pension cuts when their former employers are not in financial difficulty; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4905/15 asked on 05 Feb 2015 - Pension Provisions)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are, in general, set up under trust. The trustees of such pension schemes have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of all scheme members.Section 50 of the Pensions Act makes provision for the restructuring of a defined benefit pension scheme where the scheme fails to comply with the Funding Standard. The Pensions Authority can either unilaterally or on an application from the tr...

643. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the information in her possession in terms of the Pensions Authority investigation of a company’s (details supplied) second supplementary fund wind up; when it is likely to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50020/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Scheme trustees have duties and responsibilities under trust law, under other relevant legislation and under the Pensions Act, 1990, as amended. The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering the trust in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules. Consequently any decisions made by corporate or individual trustees of an occupational pension scheme are governed by the relevant leg...

117. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she is satisfied that the current pension legislation protects the interests of deferred pensioners sufficiently; her plans to improve pension coverage here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41713/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Pension Provisions)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Pension schemes in Ireland are generally set up under a trust. The management of the scheme is a matter for the employer and the trustees of the pension scheme. The obligation on the sponsoring employer will be set out in the trust deed and scheme rules. The trustees of the scheme are required to act in the best interest of all scheme members. 
The Pensions Act provides a framework for the regulation and supervision of occupation...

205. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has carried out a financial analysis as to the impact to companies operating defined benefits pension schemes arising from her plans as outlined in head 12 and 13 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2017; if so, if she will publish same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29281/17 asked on 22 Jun 2017 - Pensions Legislation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The possible implications, both positive and negative, of the proposed measures have been subject to considerable deliberation by my Department. It is not feasible to carry out a financial analysis given the variability of schemes, employers and market conditions. All defined benefit (DB) schemes are different, with their own trust deeds and scheme rules, setting out contribution rates for employers and employees. The circumstances of e...

372. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the Irish airlines superannuation scheme pension (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30952/14 asked on 15 Jul 2014 - Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I am very aware of the issues arising in Irish airlines superannuation scheme. However, you will appreciate that is it is not appropriate for me to comment on matters relating to an individual pension scheme as these are matters for the management of a company and the trustees of the relevant pension scheme.
I can advise that the trustees of a pension scheme are required under trust law to ensure that the scheme is administered a...

599. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the Irish airlines superannuation scheme in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39789/14 asked on 21 Oct 2014 - Superannuation Schemes)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 599 and 600 together.
Resolution of the funding difficulties of the IASS is primarily a matter for the Trustee, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme’s members and the Pensions Authority. The process currently underway involves all of these stakeholders, including the deferred members.
I can assure you that I do understand the concerns of the deferred members in relation to the f...

39. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce legislation to guarantee the property rights of deferred pensioners in order to ensure that their rights are not eroded in view of what has happened with the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme pension scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43500/14 asked on 13 Nov 2014 - Pensions Legislation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 39 together.
I would like to assure you that Ireland is compliant with its requirements in relation to the transposition of EU directives concerning occupational pensions.
While I am aware of the complex issues arising in relation to Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme, you will appreciate that it is not appropriate for me to comment on issues relating to a particular pension scheme as thes...

47. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a profitable company (details supplied) in County Meath has not provided for its employees’ pension scheme; and if she will amend legislation to place an obligation on profitable employers to fulfil pension related commitments to their employees. (Question 49722/14 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Defined Benefit Pension Schemes)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 75 together. 
Defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are set up and maintained by employers on a voluntary basis. A statutory obligation on employers under Irish law to contribute to their pension scheme has never existed. The level of employer and employee contributions is agreed and established in contract in the Trust Deeds and Rules of each scheme when a pension scheme is establish...

306. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if the Retired Aviation Staff Association will provide a model for the way pensioner groups may be organised and allowed access to the State’s industrial relations machinery overcoming one of the potential difficulties pinpointed previously in relation to this issue. (Question 32143/14 asked on 17 Jul 2014 - Industrial Relations)

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): The industrial relations system in Ireland is voluntary in nature both as regards access to the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court. Any change to that principle would alter fundamentally the conduct of industrial relations. Mandatory attendance at conciliation would clearly affect potential for agreed outcomes compared to situations where the parties attend voluntarily.
I understand that, as part of its process o...