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Public Expenditure Minister fails to reform public sector pension bill – McDonald

11 July, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald today criticised the Government for failing to reform pension provisions for senior managers across the civil and public sector.

Deputy McDonald said:

“The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill offered the Government a real opportunity to tackle excessive pension pots paid out to senior managers across the public sector. Despite promises of real reform Minister Howlin did not include provisions to end early retirements and special pension payoffs for current Secretaries General or indeed future or current City and County Managers.

“Fast accrual sectors such as the gardaí, prison officers and fire-fighters have been unduly targeted by the Government under the new scheme. The Labour Minister decision to stop benefits to a surviving dependent on remarriage, civil partnership or cohabitation is deeply inappropriate in a modern society.  Uprating pensions in line with the Consumer Price Index is a mistake and the Minister should have instead uprated benefits in line with average wage increases to ensure that benefit accrual in early years is broadly linked to earning increases. The so called ‘enabling clause’ creates unnecessary uncertainty for current public sector workers.

“Of particular disappointment is Minister Howlin’s decision to provide special pension provisions for former Oireachtas members and MEPs who win back their seats after losing them at a previous election. It is shocking that Fine Gael and Labour would deem it right or proper to slip in this kind of preferential treatment for politicians. The Government parties also refused to support a cap on public sector pensions. Yet again Minister Howlin talked the talk of reform but failed to walk the walk.”  

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