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Labour ‘dead and buried’ before proposed pension plans possible – Ó Snodaigh

8 January, 2015 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Pensions Aengus Ó Snodaigh has criticised Minister Joan Burton’s pension reform group proposals saying the Labour Party, who has long lost its mandate, will not be in government before any of the proposed deductions from paychecks are made.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also highlighted the necessity of including representation in the group of MABS (Money Advice & Budgeting Service) as well as those political parties who were likely to be in government following the next general election.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh, responding to reports published today of the establishment of an inter-departmental Universal Retirement Savings Development Groups, said:

“This government put the OECD Review of the Irish Pension system on a shelf two years ago and did absolutely nothing with the various options that review outlined.  Pension policy reform is something that necessitates planning over the very long-term and I'm not one to advocate delaying action.

"However the notion that this government, who have long since lost their mandate, could on their own produce something impacting the core of people’s income for generations to come is ridiculous.  The Labour Party will be dead and buried itself long before the first of the proposed deductions are made from any paycheck.

“If Minister Burton proceeds with the setting up of the interdepartmental group, it is vital that representatives from MABS and that those political parties that have a hope in hell of being in government after the General Election are given the opportunity to inform its terms of reference.

“We heard talk this week that Minister Howlin's Department want to cut the existing state pension. Every €1 cut would reportedly save €19.7 million. There are immediate steps that this government must take to make the existing state pension sustainable and these do not involve cutting pension payments.

"It should standardise the tax reliefs on private pension contributions which disproportionately benefit the wealthiest but which everybody, including the 60% of private sector workers who have no occupational pension coverage whatsoever, have to pay for.  And it should increase the employer's PRSI contribution on wages in excess of €100,000. These combined measures would generate €371 million.”

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