Home > Uncategorized > Pensions Must Be Restored Urgently!!!

Pensions Must Be Restored Urgently!!!

See Also : Campaign for Restoration of Public Service Pensions through Legal Action   http://wp.me/pKzXa-vB

NO FURTHER RESTORATION OF PENSIONS

of Public Servants in  Budget 2017

Government to Retain 60 billion in Private property of public Service Pensioners in 2017. BUT……….

     Large  Budget Gains for Highest Earners in Tax/Usc Relief              

Top 5 % 0f Income Recipients   Average income 186,00 Eu p.a.   Number of Units    110,000

Tot Gain(Euro)

Employees(2/3)    73,333 X353              25,886,549

Self-employed (1/3)   36,667 x753                27,610,251

              ALL                                             53,496,800 

           No TAX ON HUGE GAINS IN Financial Assets

Net Financial Assets of Households  Now 60 Billion above Peak Boom Level

Top 10% of Households own 54% of all household assets

The richest 10% now have over 30 billion more in financial assets than they had in 2006

They have not paid a penny in Tax on these Huge Gains!!!!

 

Budget Speech-Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy:  “In his Budget Statement, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, told us the budget will create a fairer society. This is dishonest claptrap. The budget maintains and widens the rich-poor gap in our society. Under the tax and the universal social charge changes alone, the wealthiest 5% of people in our society, those on average incomes of €186,000 a year, will get a €15 per week increase and, of course, they will get it from 1 January. They are not subject to any wealth tax and neither are they subject to any assets tax, even though net financial assets have increased and are now higher than peak boom levels. They have increased threefold from €69 billion in 2008 to €192 billion in 2015—-

 

In his presentation to the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, the Minister for Finance confirmed that the financial emergency is over though the opposite was recently re-certified by the Minister for the Public Expenditure and Reform in this house. The confiscation of public service pensions under the FEMPI legislation is, therefore, unconstitutional. The right to private property of pensioners in their pensions must be fully restored immediately. This is not provided for in the budget. In addition, the pension reductions imposed on occupational pensioners in State bodies and in the private sector must be restored.” 

Extract from Letter To Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donoghue, Government demanding Full Pension Restoration from Paddy Healy    May 20, 2016

“In particular, FEMPI 2013 provided for reductions and restorations of pay in excess of  65,000 Euro per annum. It also provided for reductions in pensions over 32,500 per annum. BUT IN THE CASE OF THE PENSION REDUCTIONS, FEMPI  2013 DID NOT  PROVIDE FOR RESTORATIONS  FEMPI 2015 does not propose to amend FEMPI 2013 in this respect. This treatment of Public Service pensioners, including myself, is therefore neither proportional or non-discriminatory.

The effect of this in coming years is set out below:

IS THE “CONTRIBUTION” OF PENSIONERS TO RESOLVING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS “PROPORTIONAL”?

 2012  Serving  Public Servant   

Taoiseach          Tanaiste           Minister        M of State                TD

200,000             184,405            169,275             130,042           92,942

Post FEMPI 2013 CUT

€185,350          €171,309.           157,540                121,639         87,528

Restorations  FEMPI 2015

14,650                   13,096               11 ,735                  8,403              5,414

1,000                      1,000                  1,000                   1,000            1,000

Total Restoration after 2015

 15,650                   14,096                 12,735                 9,403           6,414          

Salary Post FEMPI 2015

201,000                185,405               170,275                     131,042         93,942

% of 2012 Salary

100.5%                100.54%                100.59%                100.76%        101.07%

In contrast to the income restoration to a Minister of 12,735 Euro, maximum restoration a pensioner can get under the FEMPI Bill 2015 is a total of 1680 Euro .   

None of the above officers of state,  have private property in the exchequer except the pensioner. A Pensioner on Less than 12,000 Euro per annum, who may be the spouse  of a deceased pensioner, whose pay and/or pension was reduced under the FEMPI ACTS, thus automatically  reducing the pension of the surviving spouse, will get no restoration of pension under FEMPI 2015!”


Minister For Finance, Michael Noonan : “Now that the (financial) emergency was over….”

Now our private property in pensions should be restored in full in the Budget to be passed by the Dáil next month-Paddy Healy

In order for it to be constitutional “The contribution(of pension reduction) must be one towards addressing that emergency.”  —Minister Howlin in Dáil

Clearly, if no financial emergency exists, the continued pension cuts in 2016 and 2017 cannot be a contribution to addressing that emergency. It is also clear that the continued pension cut is contributing to the 125 million in USC  and personal income tax reduction being provided to the top 5% of income recipients who have average incomes of 186,000 Euro per year each in Budget 2016. The continued pension reductions are therefore unconstitutional. Unlike pensioners who own their pensions, there is no private property right of rich tax payers to tax relief.

Minister Noonan has made it clear (below) that the cut in USC is to continue in Budgets 2017 and 2018

Minister Noonan was speaking at the Oireachtas Budget Oversight Committee on September 21, 2016

“The opinions of the political parties during the election were to the effect that the USC needed to be reduced, that it was an emergency tax introduced at a particular time and that now that the emergency was over, work should continue to phase it out.

Whatever we do in this regard in the upcoming budget is not a first step because reductions in the USC were provided for in the previous two budgets. Deputy Cullinane will recall that during the election time his party was the only party that was committed to maintaining the USC. The Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour Party proposals, which were varied but bore a lot of similarities as well, were around the phasing out of the USC. These were reflected in the programme for Government such that I am not constructing a budget a couple of weeks from a standing start. The budget will be based on the programme for Government, which sets down the intent of those who adhere to it in respect of USC.   On the phasing out of the USC, we are in the third year of reducing it. We have committed to anything we do being directed towards reducing the impact on low and middle income earners and continuing that process in subsequent budgets if the Government is still in office.”

LEGAL LETTER TO GOVERNMENT: RESTORE MY PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION IN FULL NOW

Dear Mr. Healy
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your email correspondence to the office of the Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D. dated 5 December, 2015.
A copy of your correspondence has been forwarded to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D. for his attention and direct response to you.
Yours sincerely, Michelle McKiernan,Assistant Private Secretary to the Taoiseach

From: Paddy Healy
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2015 11:14 AM
To: ‘webmaster@taoiseach.gov.ie’; ‘enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie’
Subject: RESTORE MY PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION IN FULL NOW

From Patrick Healy Esq, Public Service Pensioner, 88 Griffith Court Fairview Dublin 3     086-4183732

TO    Government of Ireland

Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, D02 R583

Saturday, 05 December 2015

A Thaoisigh,

My pension, which is my private property, has been substantially reduced under some of the Financial Emergency Measures in The Public Interest ACTS passed by the Oireachtas since a financial emergency was first certified to exist in Dáil Eireann. Government has now proposed and passed into law, a new FINANCIAL EMERGENCY MEASURE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST BILL 2015.  My private property is protected under Bunreacht na hEireann  subject to the public good.  Minister Howlin has stated in the Oireachtas that a FINANCIAL EMERGENCY must exist in order to justify the confiscation of pensions or portion thereof by government. He has set out a number of other criteria, all of which must also be met to justify confiscation. I am also advised that the confiscation of property in pensions in the manner being carried out by government is in Breach of the European Convention on Human Rights(ECHR) to which this state is a signatory. The discriminatory aspect of the emergency measures continued by the current bill is but one of the breaches of ECHR contained in the emergency measures.

The FEMPI Bill 2015, now passed into law, will have the effect of retaining in the exchequer in year 2016 of by far the greater proportion of the pension reduction imposed on me in the FEMPI Acts and indeed contains no provision to restore the full reduction in my pension at any time in the future.

Government is also currently proposing to the Oireachtas a Finance Bill  to be implemented in Fiscal year 2016. The Bill provides a mere 30 million Euro for restoration of public service pensions in 2016. This means that government   proposes, in 2016, to withhold 95 million of the 125 million Euro in public service pension reductions being retained by the state in 2015. This  95 million Euro contains a substantial sum of money belonging to me. At the same time the Bill Proposes to bestow c. 100 million Euro in Tax Relief on the 5% of tax payers with the greatest incomes.

While confiscating a significant amount of my pension property, the state is  imposing no charge on some other forms of property.  The most recent  INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR ACCOUNTS  issued by the Central Statistics Office(CSO) show that the Net Financial assets of Households in 2014 were considerably( c 41 billion Euro) above peak boom levels in 2006. There is no levy, charge or tax on the vast bulk of these large assets nor has there been as the assets grew over the last 5 years. The levy on private sector pension funds is to be discontinued from Dec 31, 2015.

The Central Bank Report for Q3,2015 reported recently that Total Irish Household Net Worth was   595.7 billion in Quarter 1, 2015 and that this was an increase of 2.2% or 13 billion over the previous 3 months.  The most asset-rich 10% of households  own 53.8% of all net household wealth  to a value of  320.5 Billion Euro. (19/08/2015-Central Bank Report) 

The reduction in assets of public service pensioners and the exclusion of a contribution from some other large assets, is therefore discriminatory and lacking in proportionality.

 

I, Patrick Healy, say that a FINANCIAL EMERGENCY no longer exists,. I say that none of the criteria required to justify confiscation of pension property currently exist. I say that in these respects the provisions of FEMPI Bill 2015 are repugnant to Bunreacht na hEireann and the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

I, Patrick Healy, say that the manner in which pension reductions were implemented, when a Financial Emergency actually existed was neither non-discriminatory or proportional or reasonable, considering the competing interests of different groups in Irish society and the treatment by the state of some other property/assets.

 

 

Please alter the provisions of the FEMPI ACT 2015 and the Finance BILL in a manner that will vindicate my constitutional and human rights. In any event, I demand that the legal, constitutional, and human rights defects of these legislative measures  be remedied at the earliest opportunity

 

I am demanding that the government fully restore my pension in 2016 by removing all reductions.

I further demand that my spouse be provided with 50% of my fully restored pension if I die at any time.

I further demand that previous reductions in my pensions which were imposed when a financial emergency did exist, be mitigated to meet criteria of non-discrimination and proportionality in respect of all citizens and that appropriate restitution be made to me or to my surviving spouse in the event of my death at any time in future.   

Please confirm to me by close of business on Friday, Dec 11, 2015 that the government will agree to all the above demands.

 

Patrick Healy , Retired Lecturer, DIT, 88 Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3    086-4183732

 

SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENT IN SUPPORT OF MY DEMAND FOR FULL RESTORATION OF MY PENSION IN 2015 AND APPROPRIATE RESTITUTION

 

Minister Howlin’s Criteria for Constitutionality of Withholding Part of Public Service Pensions Are Not Fulfilled

FEMPI BILL 2015 -KEY Passage on Pensions From Dail Record   http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/committeetakes/FI22015111000002?opendocument#A00100

Minister Howlin:

“The bottom line is I agree with the thrust of what Deputy Healy said about pensions being a preserved property right. That has been determined by the courts. That is why we have taken very careful advices from the Attorney General, of which some have already been tested in the courts. The criteria required, as I have put on the record before, are that to sustain pension contribution,(to cuts) there needs to be an emergency which needs to be certified. The contribution must be one towards addressing that emergency. It needs to be proportionate in terms of the person’s income and it needs to be non-discriminatory. In other words, one cannot say that category of people should be deprived of a pension and that category should not. It has to have general application.

I believe those criteria are met with this”.

I, Patrick HEALY, SAY: The title of the legislative measures empowering government  to reduce pensions is FINANCIAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

Clearly it is claimed that there is a Financial Emergency now as opposed to, for example, a national security emergency.

Government  certified in Dáil in June 2015 that a financial emergency continued to exist.

This emergency no longer exists in the light of reality and of the claims of government Ministers

Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Burton said in an opinion Piece in Irish Times Thursday October 29: “While the emergency is over, though, the need for reform is not.” This was in the context of the Tanaiste advocating pay increases for public servants. Clearly she was referring to the Financial Emergency in the TITLE of the FEMPI ACTS.

Finance Minister Noonan said, on October 13 2015 in introducing his annual budget: “The forecast deficit for 2015 of 2.1% is well ahead of our original target of 2.7% and our excessive deficit requirement of less than 3% of gross domestic product, GDP. Consequently, we will exit the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact and move into the preventive arm of the pact”

On Wed Dec 2, it was announced that revenue for the first 11 months of 2015 was c. 3 billion above that predicted in Budget 2015 and substantially greater than anticipated by the Finance Minister  on October 13,2015 when introducing the budget (see immediately above). Revenue for the month of November 2015 alone was more than 500million Euro above that predicted. The current budget deficit for the current year will now be 1.7% of GDP, rather than 2.1% of GDP as assumed by Minister Noonan on budget day. In fact for the first 11 months of the year 2015 the Exchequer posted a surplus of €343m, which compares with a deficit of €5.8bn in the same period of last year. Full restoration of public service pensions requires but a further 95million above that proposed in the Finance Bill, while the revenue for a single month(Nov 2015) is 500 million above the Ministers predictions.

On Thursday, Dec 3  Mr Moran, Secretary General of Department of Finance, told the Public Accounts Committee that his department had received strong assurances from Revenue that the surge was not a temporary windfall and would continue into next year.

“This isn’t a once-off, it’s a lift in the overall level,” he said.

On Friday Dec 4 in Irish Times Finance Minster Noonan is reported; “Citing written Revenue guidance, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has been insisting the “vast bulk” of the 2015 surge in corporate tax is likely to be repeated in 2016.

“The Revenue Commissioners have advised me that this over-performance is primarily related to improved trading conditions and is broad- based,” the Minister said, in response to the figures.”

 

Clearly the corrective financial measures have succeeded. The fiscal deficit  is now well below that required under the European Fiscal Treaty and other requirements of the TREATY are also being fulfilled.

Minister Noonan also said in the same Budget presentation:

Economic and fiscal position

The economy has been transformed. It is growing strongly across all sectors and, most importantly, sustaining and creating jobs. It has recovered all of the output lost during the crisis and is bigger than ever before in our history. Ireland is forecast to be the fastest growing economy in Europe again in 2015 and my Department is forecasting growth at 6.2% in 2015. This forecast has been endorsed by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. The Department of Finance is forecasting growth of 4.3% in 2016 taking account of the figures endorsed by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and the full impact of today’s overall budget package. Economic growth is expected to average around 3% per annum thereafter. “

 

Output of goods and services is “bigger than ever before in our history”

Robust economic growth is in full swing and predicted to continue, not only in the opinion of the Department of Finance, but also in the opinion of the independent Fiscal Advisory Council.

 

Continuing his presentation Minister Noonan said:

“  This fiscal stance will enable the Government to comply with the fiscal rules and introduce a total budget package of €1.5 billion; to reduce the headline deficit to 1.2% of GDP; and to reduce the debt to just under 93% of GDP, just slightly below the eurozone average. ———————————————————————————————————

The budget package includes €750 million in revenue relieving measures in 2016.”

 

Minister Noonan also provided in his budget that the structural deficit be reduced by 0.8% which is 0.2% more than the 0.6% reduction required by the “preventive arm” of the EU Fiscal Treaty!

 

I, Paddy Healy, say that the facts as outlined by Minister Noonan show that there is no longer a FINANCIAL EMERGENCY. In summary, the fiscal and structural deficits are being reduced to below the levels required by the EU Fiscal Treaty and the government proposes to provide net revenue relieving measures (USC and Tax Reductions) of 688 million euro when the 62 million to be raised in excise duty on tobacco products is netted out.

There cannot be a Financial Emergency when the government holds that it is in a position to give huge benefits to those already super-rich  and Budget 2015 in its actual implementation is now in surplus.

 

In the debate on the Finance Bill in the Dáil, Deputy Pearse Doherty said: “What the Government has done in this budget, cleverly and slyly, is stuff €181.9 million into the pockets of the top 14%(of income recipients) through the USC reduction.———————————————

How is it fair that tax cuts of €182 million are delivered to the top 14% of earners?”

 

Deputy Seamus Healy:  said:“This is the fifth budget in a row for the rich and powerful in our society. The USC package gives the top 5% of earners, 110,000 individuals earning over €180,000, an additional €902 in the case of employees and 1452 Euro in the case of self-employed, costing the Exchequer substantially in excess of €100 million or nearly twice what they were given last year”

 

These estimates of proposed government largesse to wealthy citizens  by Deputy Healy and Deputy Doherty were not contradicted by any government Minister in the budget debate.

There is no entitlement to tax/USC relief in the constitution. However, the government is giving priority to tax/USC relief to wealthy people over my right to my private property.

Finance Bill   Dáil Record Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Full Record Here  http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2015101300008?opendocument#F00400

 

Non-discriminatory?

A second criterion required to justify confiscation of pension property is that the emergency measure must be “non-discriminatory”.

Finance Minister Noonan has confirmed in his budget presentation that the levy which had been imposed on private sector pension funds will cease on Dec 31, 2015. But  property in public servant’s pensions will continue to be withheld by government.

There are of course many pensioners who  have no occupational pensions and many private sector pensioners have small pensions in addition to the contributory state social welfare pension. But there are many private sector pensioners who have very large pensions, including very senior retired bankers. There will be no levy on the funds paying these very high pensions in 2016.

It is also relevant to recall here that this government since entering office in 2011 has authorised Allied Irish Banks Plc to transfer 1.1 billion Euro of the assets of the bank into the AIB Staff Pension Fund. The state holds over 99% of the  equity in AIB. I understand that Pension Funds of Other Banks have also been subvented by government and the total is counted in Billions of EURO.

On the other hand, since entering office, the government has confiscated approximately 500 million Euro in pension income, which is the private property of public service pensioners.

Clearly the withholding by the state of 95 million of the 125 million cut in public service pensions owned by pensioners is discriminatory. The greater portion of the reduction in my pension is included in the 95 million Euro being withheld by government in 2016.

While confiscating a significant amount of my pension property, the state  is  imposing no charge on some other forms of property.  The most recent  INSTITUTIONAL SECTOR ACCOUNTS  issued by the Central Statistics Office(CSO) show that the Net Financial assets of Households are considerably( c 25 billion Euro) above peak boom levels. There is no levy, charge or tax on these large assets nor has there been as these assets grew over the last 5 years.

The Central Bank Report for Q3,2015 reported recently that total Irish Household Net Worth was   595.7 billion Euro in Quarter 1, 2015 and that this was an increase of 2.2% or 13 billion over the previous 3 months.  The most asset-rich 10% of households  own 53.8% of all net household wealth  to a value of  320.5 Billion Euro. (19/08/2015-Central Bank Report)

The reduction in assets of public service pensioners and the exclusion of a contribution from some other large assets, is therefore discriminatory and lacking in proportionality.

“The contribution must be one towards addressing that emergency.”   -Minister Howlin

Clearly, if no financial emergency exists, the continued pension cut in 2016 cannot be a contribution to addressing that emergency. It is also clear that the continued pension cut is contributing to the 100 million in USC reduction being provided to the top 5% of income recipients who have average incomes of 186,000 Euro per year each. Unlike pensioners who own their pensions, there is no private property right of tax payers to tax relief.

 

“It needs to be proportionate in terms of the person’s income”-Minister Howlin

Minister Howlin has not explained what precisely is meant by this. But he has made clear that all four criteria must be fulfilled to justify continued confiscation of pension income.  While it may be argued that the reductions are “proportional” among pensioned public servants, there is no doubt that the provisions of the FEMPI Bill 2015 and Of the Finance Bill are not proportional in their treatment of all those whose income is derived from the exchequer (serving and pensioned public servants), not to speak of all citizens . I understand that one of the criteria for proportionality in Eoropean Law is: the measure must be reasonable, considering the competing interests of different groups in society

 

 

The FEMPI ACTS also provide for reductions and RESTORATIONS  of pay of serving public servants.

 

In particular, FEMPI 2013 provided for reductions and restorations of pay in excess of  65,000 Euro per annum. It also provided for reductions in pensions over 32,500 per annum. BUT IN THE CASE OF THE PENSION REDUCTIONS, FEMPI  2013 DID NOT  PROVIDE FOR RESTORATIONS  FEMPI 2015 does not propose to amend FEMPI 2013 in this respect. This treatment of Public Service pensioners, including myself, is therefore neither proportional or non-discriminatory.

The effect of this in coming years is set out below:

 

IS THE “CONTRIBUTION” OF PENSIONERS TO RESOLVING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS “PROPORTIONAL”?

 2012  Serving  Public Servant   

Taoiseach          Tanaiste           Minister        M of State                TD

200,000             184,405            169,275             130,042           92,942

Post FEMPI 2013 CUT

€185,350          €171,309.           157,540                121,639         87,528

Restorations  FEMPI 2015

14,650                   13,096               11 ,735                  8,403              5,414

1,000                      1,000                  1,000                   1,000            1,000

Total Restoration after 2015

 15,650                   14,096                 12,735                 9,403           6,414          

Salary Post FEMPI 2015

201,000                185,405               170,275                     131,042         93,942

% of 2012 Salary

100.5%                100.54%                100.59%                100.76%        101.07%

In contrast to the income restoration to a Minister of 12,735 Euro, maximum restoration a pensioner can get under the FEMPI Bill 2015 is 1680 Euro per year.   

None of the above officers of state,  have private property in the exchequer except the pensioner. A Pensioner on Less than 12,000 Euro per annum, who may be the spouse  of a deceased pensioner, whose pay and/or pension was reduced under the FEMPI ACTS, thus automatically  reducing the pension of the surviving spouse, will get no restoration of pension under FEMPI 2015!

 

Salaries between 65,000euro and that of Principal Officer Higher Scale (c.110,000euro), which are reduced under the Public Service Stability Agreement (2013-2016)-Haddington RD and FEMPI 2013 are to be fully restored in two equal instalments over 18 months after July 1, 2016. Full restoration of the FEMPI 2013 pay cut will have been achieved by December  2017.  For example A TD (see above) will be at  101.07% of their Pre FEMPI 2013 salary on that date having retrieved 6,414 Euro

 

On the same date a public service pensioner will have retrieved  900 Euro with a further 780 due on Jan1, 2018

 

The phasing of restorations is highly discriminatory in regard to pensioners

Unlike serving employees, they have a low life expectancy due to advanced age

 

It is estimated that on average 18 of every hundred individuals aged 65 and over to-day will die within one year. After 3 years there would be 54 surviving and after  5 years there would be 35 surviving.

 

Consequently, many including myself, may not be alive to benefit from phased payments.

This is very unfair to surviving spouses, including my spouse, who are part of the pension scheme and on behalf of whom pension contributions have been made in service. Surviving spouses receive 50% of the pension of the deceased, part of which will be un-restored at the time of death.

 

Conclusion

I say that none of the criteria for lawfully and constitutionally conficating pension income are currently met. I say that even if only one of the criteria were not met the continued retention of portion of pension is neither Lawful nor Constitutional  or in accordance with human rights

 

Please restore my pension in full forthwith.

Please ensure that when die, even if that event takes place in the immediate future, that my surviving spouse receives  pension which is 50% of my fully restored pension.

 

In the light of the discriminatory and lack of proportionality with which all public service pension cuts were imposed since an emergency was first certified in the Dáil, please forward to me, or to my surviving spouse, appropriate restitution of my private property in pension

 

Patrick Healy, Lecturer(Retired), AGED 70 Years and 6 months 30/11/2015

———————————————————————————————————————–

SUNDAY TIMES Nov 29:GOVERNMENT TO IMPOSE NEW TAX ON HIGH EARNERS AFTER USC CUT.

IS LEGAL THREAT TO CONSTITUTIONALITY OF CONTINUED PENSION CUTS THE CAUSE

Letter to Oireachtas Members From Paddy Healy Chair of Dublin Branch Retired Members Association , Teachers Union of Ireland to All Oirachtas Members in Recent Days

“Bring FEMPI BILL 2015 into Conformity with Bunreacht na hEireann”

 EXTRACTS From Letter—Full Letter Below

 CRITERIA FOR CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PENSION REDUCTIONS

“The contribution(of pension reduction) must be one towards addressing that emergency.”  —Minister Howlin

Clearly, if no financial emergency exists, the continued pension cut in 2016 cannot be a contribution to addressing that emergency. It is also clear that the continued pension cut is contributing to the 100 million in USC reduction being provided to the top 5% of income recipients who have average incomes of 186,000 Euro per year each. Unlike pensioners who own their pensions, there is no private property right of tax payers to tax relief.

  • – – –

How can their be a Financial Emergency When the budget package includes €750 million in revenue relieving measures in 2016.”?

 

Minister Noonan also provided in his budget that the structural deficit be reduced by 0.8% which is 0.2% more than the 0.6% reduction required by the “preventive arm” of the EU Fiscal Treaty!

 

I, Paddy Healy, say that the facts as outlined by Minister Noonan show that there is no longer a FINANCIAL EMERGENCY. In summary, the fiscal and structural deficits are being reduced to below the levels required by the EU Fiscal Treaty and the government proposes to provide net revenue relieving measures (USC and Tax Reductions) of 688 million euro when the 62 million to be raised in excise duty on tobacco products is netted out.

 

How can there be a Financial Emergency when the government holds that it is in a position to give huge benefits to those already super-rich? 

 

In the debate on the Finance Bill in the Dáil, in the Dail it was said: said: “What the Government has done in this budget, cleverly and slyly, is stuff €181.9 million into the pockets of the top 14%(of income recipients) through the USC reduction.———————————————

How is it fair that tax cuts of €182 million are delivered to the top 14% of earners?”

 

Deputy Seamus Healy:  said:“This is the fifth budget in a row for the rich and powerful in our society. The USC package gives the top 5% of earners, 110,000 individuals earning over €180,000, an additional €922, costing the Exchequer almost €100 million or nearly twice what they were given last year”

 

These estimates by Deputy Healy and others were not contradicted by any government Minister in the budget debate.

————————————————————

Spouses are affected by continued pension cuts in that the couple’s income is reduced 

SURVIVING SPOUSES will receive half of a reduced pension unless pensions are fully restored

SPOUSES! PLEASE COME ALONG AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

National Public Meeting-Restore Pensions, Parity With Serving Peer

Tomorrow Saturday Nov 28   1-4 pm   Buswells Hotel Dublin

To Be Adressed by:

Gerry Quinn, President, Teachers Union of Ireland

Brian Burke: Chair of Alliance of Retired Public Servants

Martin Hoye: National Sec TUI  RMA

Philip Irwin: ASTI

Bernadine O’Sullivan :ASTI

To Be Advised:    PS Pensioner on less than 12,000E per year getting no      Increase

IS THE “CONTRIBUTION” OF PENSIONERS TO RESOLVING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS “PROPORTIONAL”?

 2012  Serving  Public Servant   

Taoiseach          Tanaiste           Minister        M of State                TD

200,000             184,405            169,275             130,042           92,942

Post FEMPI 2013

€185,350          €171,309.           157,540                121,639         87,528

Restorations  FEMPI 2015

14,650                   13,096               11 ,735                  8,403              5,414

1,000                      1,000                  1,000                   1,000            1,000

Total Restoration 2015

   15,650                   14,096                 12,735                      9,403           6,414          

Salary Post FEMPI 2015

201,000                185,405               170,275                     131,042         93,942

% of 2012 Salary

100.5%                100.54%                100.59%                100.76%        101.07%

The maximum restoration a pensioner can get under the Bill is 1680 E per year.   None of the above have private property in the exchequer except the pensioner. Pensioner on Less than 12,000 Euro per annum to get no increase

—————————————————————

FORMER TAOISIGH AND MINISTERS ON PENSIONS OF OVER 100,000 EURO TO GET INCREASES!

SENATORS MUST VOTE TO FULLY RESTORE OUR PENSIONS!

The FEMPI BILL which authorises the government to withhold 95 million of the 125 million annual cut in our pensions in 2016,  has now gone to the Seanad for debate and voting.

Please send the following email message to senators:

A Sheanadóir,

I call on you as a member of Seanad Eireann to ensure that the FEMPI BILL 2015 be amended to bring it into conformity with Bunreacht na hEireann by fully restoring my public service pension. If the government refuses to facilitate this, I call on you to vote against the Bill.

Signed

The email addresses of the six university senators are highlighted below. The university senators will be seeking the votes of graduates in the weeks after the next general election. Please send email messages to the university senators high-lighted below and to senators from you locality. Ask them to stop the government withholding your private property in pension and to positively respond to my call below.

ivana.bacik@oireachtas.ie; seand.barrett@oireachtas.ie; paul.bradford@oireachtas.ie; terry.brennan@oireachtas.ie; david.norris@oireachtas.ie; paddy.burke@oireachtas.ie;colm.burke@oireachtas.ie;thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie;deirdre.clune@oireachtas.ie;paul.coghlan@oireachtas.ie; eamonn.coghlan@oireachtas.ie; michael.comiskey@oireachtas.ie;martin.conway@oireachtas.ie;john.crown@oireachtas.ie;david.cullinane@oireachtas.ie; maurice.cummins@oireachtas.ie; mark.daly@oireachtas.ie; jim.darcy@oireachtas.ie;michael.darcy@oireachtas.ie;john.gilroy@oireachtas.ie;jimmy.harte@oireachtas.ie;aideen.hayden@oireachtas.ie; fidelma.healy.eames@oireachtas.ie; james.heffernan@oireachtas.ie; imelda.henry@oireachtas.ie; lorraine.higgins@oireachtas.ie; cait.keane@oireachtas.ie; john.kelly@oireachtas.ie; denis.landy@oireachtas.ie; terry.leyden@oireachtas.ie; fiach.macconghail@oireachtas.ie; marc.macsharry@oireachtas.ie; marie.moloney@oireachtas.ie; paschal.mooney@oireachtas.ie; mary.moran@oireachtas.ie; tony.mulcahy@oireachtas.ie; ronan.mullen@oireachtas.ie; michael.mullins@oireachtas.ie; catherine.noone@oireachtas.ie; trevor.oclochartaigh@oireachtas.ie; brian.odomhnaill@oireachtas.ie; labhras.omurchu@oireachtas.ie; darragh.obrien@oireachtas.ie; maryann.obrien@oireachtas.ie; marielouise.odonnell@oireachtas.ie; denis.odonovan@oireachtas.ie; susan.okeeffe@oireachtas.ie; pat.oneill@oireachtas.ie; ned.osullivan@oireachtas.ie; averil.power@oireachtas.ie; feargal.quinn@oireachtas.ie; kathryn.reilly@oireachtas.ie; tom.sheahan@oireachtas.ie; jillian.vanturnhout@oireachtas.ie; jim.walsh@oireachtas.ie; john.whelan@oireachtas.ie; mwhite@oireachtas.ie; diarmuid.wilson@oireachtas.ie; katherine.zappone@oireachtas.ie

 

From Paddy Healy, Chair Dublin Branch, Retired Members Association, Teachers Union of Ireland     086-4183732

 

 

Paddy Healy, Retired Lecturer, DIT,  on behalf of Dublin Branch RMA-TUI

Ironically, the government relied on the constitutional right to private property in pensions to justify granting increases to pensions over 100,ooo Euro,including former Taoisigh and ministers, in FEMPI 2015.

The beneficiaries included Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen on a pension of €134,000,former taoiseach John Bruton on a pension of €126,000 and former finance minister Charlie McCreevy,  on €108,000. Dick Spring? Ruairi Quinn?

Minister Howlin explained that current members of cabinet would “voluntarily” forego income increases under the Bill. But after they leave office in a few months  ????

Are Minister Howlin’s Criteria for Constitutionality of Withholding Part of Public Service Pensions Fulfilled?

FEMPI BILL 2015 -KEY Passage on Pensions From Dail Record 

Full Record  http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20Authoring/DebatesWebPack.nsf/committeetakes/FI22015111000002?opendocument#A00100

Minister Howlin:

“The bottom line is I agree with the thrust of what Deputy Healy said about pensions being a preserved property right. That has been determined by the courts. That is why we have taken very careful advices from the Attorney General, of which some have already been tested in the courts. The criteria required, as I have put on the record before, are that to sustain pension contribution,(to cuts) there needs to be an emergency which needs to be certified. The contribution must be one towards addressing that emergency. It needs to be proportionate in terms of the person’s income and it needs to be non-discriminatory. In other words, one cannot say that category of people should be deprived of a pension and that category should not. It has to have general application.

I believe those criteria are met with this. I have listened carefully to the pension representatives and the well-made points by Deputy Sean Fleming about accelerating this process. I agree with that. This was negotiated during the course of 2015 and we will start the restoration in January. If I am in a position, I would like to accelerate that. Please God, the financial circumstances of the State will be such that we can accelerate the restoration, for pensioners in particular, earlier than is set out in this legislation.”

 

 

ARE HOWLIN’S CRITERIA  FOR CONSTITUTIONALITY SATISFIED IN THE LIGHT OF The FOLLOWING EXTRACTS FROM  The Debate on Finance Bill? Tuesday Oct 13 2015

 

The title of the legislative measures empowering government  to reduce pensions is FINANCIAL EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Clearly it is claimed that there is a Financial Emergency as opposed to, for example, a national security emergency.

Minister Noonan certified in Dáil in June 2015 that a financial emergency continued to exist.

Does this still exist in the light of reality and of the claims of government Ministers?

Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Burton said in an opinion Piece in Irish Times Thursday October 29: “While the emergency is over, though, the need for reform is not.”

 

Finance Minister Noonan said, on October 13 2015 in introducing his annual budget: “The forecast deficit for 2015 of 2.1% is well ahead of our original target of 2.7% and our excessive deficit requirement of less than 3% of gross domestic product, GDP. Consequently, we will exit the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact and move into the preventive arm of the pact”

 

Clearly the corrective financial measures have succeeded. The fiscal deficit  is now below that required under the European Fiscal Treaty.

 

Minister Noonan also said in the same presentation:

Economic and fiscal position

The economy has been transformed. It is growing strongly across all sectors and, most importantly, sustaining and creating jobs. It has recovered all of the output lost during the crisis and is bigger than ever before in our history. Ireland is forecast to be the fastest growing economy in Europe again in 2015 and my Department is forecasting growth at 6.2% in 2015. This forecast has been endorsed by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. The Department of Finance is forecasting growth of 4.3% in 2016 taking account of the figures endorsed by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and the full impact of today’s overall budget package. Economic growth is expected to average around 3% per annum thereafter. “

 

Output of goods and services is “bigger than ever before in our history”

Robust economic growth is in full swing and predicted to continue, not only in the opinion of the Department of Finance, but also in the opinion of the independent Fiscal Advisory Council.

 

Continuing his presentation Minister Noonan said:

“  This fiscal stance will enable the Government to comply with the fiscal rules and introduce a total budget package of €1.5 billion; to reduce the headline deficit to 1.2% of GDP; and to reduce the debt to just under 93% of GDP, just slightly below the eurozone average. ———————————————————————————————————

The budget package includes €750 million in revenue relieving measures in 2016.”

 

Minister Noonan also provided in his budget that the structural deficit be reduced by 0.8% which is 0.2% more than the 0.6% reduction required by the “preventive arm” of the EU Fiscal Treaty!

 

I, Paddy Healy, say that the facts as outlined by Minister Noonan show that there is no longer a FINANCIAL EMERGENCY. In summary, the fiscal and structural deficits are being reduced to below the levels required by the EU Fiscal Treaty and the government proposes to provide net revenue relieving measures (USC and Tax Reductions) of 688 million euro when the 62 million to be raised in excise duty on tobacco products is netted out.

 

How can there be a Financial Emergency when the government holds that it is in a position to give huge benefits to those already super-rich?

 

In the debate on the Finance Bill in the Dáil, Deputy Pearse Doherty said: “What the Government has done in this budget, cleverly and slyly, is stuff €181.9 million into the pockets of the top 14%(of income recipients) through the USC reduction.———————————————

How is it fair that tax cuts of €182 million are delivered to the top 14% of earners?”

 

Deputy Seamus Healy:  said:“This is the fifth budget in a row for the rich and powerful in our society. The USC package gives the top 5% of earners, 110,000 individuals earning over €180,000, an additional €922, costing the Exchequer almost €100 million or nearly twice what they were given last year”

 

These estimates by Deputy Healy and Deputy Donherty were not contradicted by any government Minister in the budget debate.

 

Non-discriminatory

 

A second criterion is that the emergency measure must be “non-discriminatory”.

Finance Minister Noonan has confirmed in his budget presentation that the levy which had been imposed on private sector pension funds will cease on Dec 31, 2015.

There are of course many pensioners who  have no occupational pensions and many private sector pensioners, have small pensions in addition to the contributory state social welfare pension. But there are many private sector pensioners who have very large pensions, including very senior retired bankers. There will be no levy on the funds paying these very high pensions in 2016.

It is also relevant to recall here that this government since entering office in 2011 has authorised Allied Irish Banks Plc to transfer 1.1 billion Euro of the assets of the bank into the AIB Staff Pension Fund. The state holds over 99% of the  equity in AIB. On the other hand, since entering office, the government has confiscated approximately 500 milion in pension income, which is the private property of public service pensioners.

Clearly the withholding by the state of 95 million of the 125 million cut in public service pensions owned by pensioners is discriminatory.

 

 

“The contribution must be one towards addressing that emergency.” 

 

Clearly, if no financial emergency exists, the continued pension cut in 2016 cannot be a contribution to addressing that emergency. It is also clear that the continued pension cut is contributing to the 100 million in USC reduction being provided to the top 5% of income recipients who have average incomes of 186,000 Euro per year each. Unlike pensioners who own their pensions, there is no private property right of tax payers to tax relief.

 

“It needs to be proportionate in terms of the person’s income”

Minister Howlin has not explained what precisely is meant by this. But he has made clear that all four criteria must be fulfilled to justify continued confiscation of pension income.

 

Call to Senators

I call on all Senators to ensure that the FEMPI BILL 2015 be amended to bring it into conformity with Bunreacht na hEireann. If the government refuses to facilitate this, I call on you to vote against the Bill

 

Finance Bill   Dáil Record Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Full Record Here  http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2015101300008?opendocument#F00400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOWLIN BILL IS UNCONTITUTIONAL and ANTI-TRADE UNION Speech By Seamus Healy TD on FEMPI Bill 2015 in Dáil

Occupational Pensions are pay withheld in the working lifetime of the pensioner. Pensions are owned by the pensioner. They are the private property of the pensioner. The courts have so decided. Private property is protected in the Constitution “subject to the public good”. Pensions can only be reduced or withheld in a national emergency. Mr Howlin has said so in this House.

The emergency is over. This has been stated by several ministers most notably and categorically by Tanaiste Burton  in an OPINION PIECE in the Irish Times. Minister Noonan has said in this house that the debt to GDP ratio will be below the European average next year.

But the greatest proof that the Emergency is over is the tax relief given to high earners in the Budget.

The Budget provides c. 100 million Euro in tax relief to the top 5% of income recipients , c. 110,000 units with an average salary of 180,000 per year each

On the other hand the minister is merely restoring 30 million of the 125 million which is being confiscated from pensioners each year.

I believe that the continued withholding of 95 million of money belonging to pensioners in these circumstances is unconstitutional and also breaches the EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS to which the state is a signatory.

My amendments on pension issues are designed to bring the Bill into line with the Constitution

In summary, they require full restoration of pensions up to 60,000 Euro on Jan 1.

This will cost nothing if the money given to the top 5% in the budget is withheld.

Penalties on Unions and Anti-Union Laws.

Gardai and Teachers and lecturers in secondary schools and Institutes of Technology wish to continue to abide by the industrial relations agrreemen ts to wshich they are a party- theHaddington Rd Agreement which expires on July 1,2016.

GARDAI and teachers/lecturers are not seeking any extra money

Minister Howlin through amendments in this Bill is attempting to force these employees to abandon this agreement. He is attempting to force them to continue additional hours and duties which are damaging the policing service and the education system.

Forcing unions by to sign up to an agreement favoured by government is a measure redolent od the corporate state of mussoli, franco and Salazaar.

That A Labour Party Minister should introduce such measures taking effect in 2016 must be making Connolly and Larkin spin in their graves.

My amendments seeks to remove these powers–Seamus Healy TD

PARITY  WITH SERVING PEER IS GONE

UP until 2008, if a serving public servant got a 5% rise in Pay, the equivalent pensioner also got a rise of 5% in Pensions.

This arrangement has been discontinued by government.

There is no protection for pensions in payment from effective reduction of buying power through inflation

The Levy on Private Sector Pensions Was ended from Dec 31,2016 in Budget 2016 announced yesterday

Proportion of Total Pension Cut to be Restored over 3 Years

The table applies to all public service pensioners with the relevant pre-cut pensions

Pensions of teachers and lecturers are taken as examples only.

Restorations- Jan 1 2016   400EURO, Jan 1 2017  500Euro, Jan 1 2018  780Euro.

Less than one quarter of the % pension restorations below will be provided in 2016

The exchequer will be retaining 95 million euro of pensioners property and providing 30 million Euro for purposes of restoration in 2016

    All pre-cut pensions at 34,132 euro or under will have been fully restored by Jan 1, 2018

                      There is no timeline in the Howlin proposals for full

                      restoration of pre-cut pensions above this level

                        

Pre-cut Pension Levels

Pension of 35,000 Total Cut (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)      8%of 12,000+12% of 11,00=960+1,320=2,260

Total Restoration over 3 years(FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)        1680            % of Cut restored   74%

Special Duties Full Service1

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Pension of 37,500  Total Cut (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)        8% of 12,000+12% of 13,500=   2550

Total Restoration over 3 years(FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)         1680    % of Cut restored       66%

Assistant Principal Full Service2

————————————————————————————————————————–

Pension of 40,000   Total Cut (FEMPI 1+FEMPI 2)  8% of 12,000 +12% of 16,000= 960+1920= 2880

Total Restoration over 3 years (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)  1680       %of Cut Restored          58%

———————————————————————————————————

Pension  of 42,500   Total Cut (FEMPI 1+FEMPI 2)  8% of 12,000 +12% of 18,500=960+2220=  3180

Total Restoration over 3 years (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)   1680       %of Cut Restored          53%

Deputy Principal  Medium Size School Full Service3

———————————————————————————————————

Pension of  45,000     Total Cut (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)  8% of 12,000 +12% of 21,000=960+2,520=3,480

Total Restoration over 3 years (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)   1680      %of Cut restored         48%

IoT Lecturer Full Service4

————————————————————————————————————————-

Pension of 47,500          Total Cut (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)  8% of 12,000 +12% of 23,500=3750

Total Restoration over 3 years (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)    1680    %of Cut Restored       45%

IoT  Lecturer 2 Full Service5      Principal Medium Size School Full Service6

———————————————————————————————————————

Pension of 50,000     Total Cut (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)  8% of 12,000+12% of 26,000=960+3,120=4,080

Total Restoration over 3 years (FEMPI 1, FEMPI 2)    1680        %of Cut restored        41%

IoT Senior Lecturer(Teaching) Full Service7

———————————————————————————————————————————–

NOTES

  1. 1/09/08     Second Level Teacher  Special Duties (TUI  Diary 2008/2009)

Max Scale                         63,360

SD Allowance                    3,967

Pass Deg Allowance          1,939

Pass Hdip Allowance             622

Total  Salary                         =69,888

Pension Full Service             =34,944

———————————————————————————————————————–

  1. 1/09/08     Second Level Teacher   Assistant Principal (TUI  Diary 2008/2009)

Max Scale                                63,360

AP Allowance                            8,968

Pass Deg Allowance                  1,939

Pass H Dip Allowance                 622

Total  salary                       =          74,859

Pension Full Service                          =           37,430

————————————————————————————————————-

  1. 1/09/08   Deputy Principal Medium Size School (Level viii)

Max Scale                                        63,360

D P Allowance                                  15,399

Hons Deg Allowance                           5,177

Hons H dip Allowance                         1,299

Total Salary                                           85,235

Pension Full Service                            42,618

———————————————————————————————————————————————

  1. 1/09/08     Lecturer  (TUI  Diary 2008/2009)

Max Scale                                            =      90,345

Pension Full Service                          =           45,173

————————————————————————————————————

  1. 1/09/08     Lecturer 2  (TUI  Diary 2008/2009)

Max Scale                                             =    94,766

Pension Full Service                              = 47,383

————————————————————————————————————————–

  1. 1/09/08            Principal  Medium Size School (Level viii)

Max Scale                                              63,360

Principal Allowance                               24,961

Hons Deg Allowance                                5,177

Hons H Dip Allowance                            1,299

Total Salary                                               94,797

Pension Full Service                           47,399

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

  1. 1/09/08      Senior Lecturer(teaching)  (TUI DIARY 2008/2009)

Max Scale                                                  =  98,357

Pension Full Service                                  =49,179

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Teachers  with honours degrees or higher degrees, vice-principals and principals of bigger schools, will be above these pre-cut salary and pension levels  and all Senior Lecturers 2 and Senior Lecturers 3(IoT Heads of Schools and Departments) will be above the pre-cut salaries and pensions of teaching Senior Lecturers.

 

FOR A MASS  RALLY IN GRESHAM HOTEL for Full Pension Restoration!

At a meeting held on Friday Sep 4, the committee of the Dublin Branch, RMA TUI considered the Howlin Proposals on Pension Restoration.

The committee was conscious of the fact that our pensions are our private property under the constitution and that discrimination against a category of pensioners through selective pension cuts are a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights to which this state is a signatory.

We  note that this government , which cut our pensions, transferred 1.1 Billion Euro into the AIB pension fund.

We note that the government intends to disburse 750 million euro in tax cuts in the coming budget to persons and institutions who have no private property in the exchequer. We also note that the government, in the last budget, disbursed c. 80 million Euro in tax cuts to the top 5% of income recipients who have an average income of 180,000 Euro per Year.

Clearly, government intends to gratuitously disburse portion of our private property to others.

The most glaring inadequacy in the Howlin proposals is the absence of any mechanism to protect the value of pensions into the future. A burst of inflation could erode the meagre measures proposed in a short time. The restoration of parity with serving peers should be the primary objective of pensioner organisations.

The committee was also aware that the pay cut for serving members on salaries between 65,000 and 107,500  under FEMPI 2 (2013) is to be fully restored under the terms of the Haddington Rd Agreement. While we welcome this restoration, we cannot accept the further discrimination against pensioned members involved in the Howlin proposal which confine restoration of the FEMPI 2 pension cuts to less than 50% of the cut  in most cases.

FEMPI 2 PENSION CUTS only AFFECTED PENSIONED ASSISTANCE PRINCIpALS AND ALL HIGHER GRADES INCLUDING IoT  LECTURERS. These constitute a majority of our members.

Great anger was expressed at this new discrimination. In effect the principle of parity with serving peer has been further violated by government.

Other aspects of the Howlin Proposals, including the failure to address the anomaly affecting post 2012 retirees and the cotinuation of the USC anomaly were also held to be totally unacceptable.

The Committee was also conscious of the undue delay in providing any degree of restoration to all PS pensioners in view of the low life expectancy of pensioners.

THE INCLUSION OF DEMANDS FOR A REMEDY TO THESE GRIEVANCES IN PRE_BUDGET SUBMISSIONS, LOCAL LOBBYING OF POLITICIANS, WHILE NECESSARY, ARE TOTALLY INADEQUATE

The committee is calling on all  associations of retired public servants to hold a mass public PRE-BUDGET RALLY in a large Dublin Hotel to demand complete restoration  of pension cuts. The Alliance of Retired Public Servants  should be invited to attend and to speak.

The Committee also asked the Campaign for Restoration of Public Service Pension Cuts to accelerate the process of seeking legal redress. In particular, the Campaign should be asked to seek legal advice on whether it would be possible to successfully seek a legal injunction to prevent government disbursing portion of our private property to others in the form of tax reliefs and other gratuitous awards.

Paddy Healy    Chair Dublin Branch RMA TUI

.

Howlin Proposals For Pension Increases are Derisory—SEE FULL DETAILS BELOW

Response of Aliance of Retired Public Servants to Howlin “Restoration” Proposals

http://www.rcpsa.ie/alliance/item/alliance-statement-on-public-service-pension-reductions

Submission of Alliance of Retired Public Servants to Minister Howlin Seeking Pension Restoration

http://www.rcpsa.ie/alliance/item/alliance-submission-to-minister-for-public-expenditure-and-reform-6-may-2015

PITTANCE

increases are a pittance in comparison to the reductions in pensions under FEMPI 1 and FEMPI 2. There has been 10% inflation since the first cut in pensions. In effect there is no restoration. Even those on very low pensions will loose out because of this. Others have just got a portion of what they lost through inflation back.

A full blooded ROBUST campaign for real pension restoration must begin now leading in to the General Election

The provisions take no account of the high mortality rate among pensioners. Tens of thousands will never see  their pensions restored.

There is no restitution of  of losses which are the private property of pensioners under law.

The continuing cuts are discriminatory as they apply to public servants only. This is a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights

The Legal Campaign for Pension Restoration will now be accelerated.

 PENSION DEDUCTIONS

The effect of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation (Acts of 2011 and 2013) is that emergency powers are used to reduce all public service pensions over €12,000 per annum by between 8% and 28%.—-Alliance of Retired Public Servants

Increase                                                        Jan1,2016                 Jan 1, 2017             Jan 1 2018

Pension 35,000 per  annum                          400E(1.1%)              500E(1.4%)              780E(2.2%)

Cumulative(compounded)            4.8%

From Garda Retired Website-Full Howlin Statement

Statement by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D., on Government agreement to reduce Public Service Pension Reductions

Government agrees to reduce Public Service Pension Reductions 

By 2018 65,000 lower paid pensioners to be removed from pension reduction

In January 2011, as part of the response to the fiscal crisis then faced by the country, an emergency measure to reduce public service pensions (Public Service Pension Reduction- PSPR) in payment was introduced. A further reduction for higher value pensions was introduced in July 2013.

In welcoming the proposals developed between public service employers and the representative associations and unions for an extension to the Haddington Road Agreement out to September 2018, I indicated that I intended to bring forward separate proposals to Government to provide for a commensurate reduction in the Public Service Pension Reduction as it applies to retired public servants

The proposals approved today deliver upon my stated commitment to move towards reducing the burden of public service pension reductions, with the initial focus on the people in receipt of low pensions, at the earliest date economic progress permits.

These proposals in respect of public service pensioners are prudent in the context of the fiscal space available to the Government and will not compromise the ongoing recovery in the Government finances.

The changes provide for a restoration of pension income subjected to the Public Service Pension Reduction on a phased basis over three years as follows,

  • 1 January 2016 – return of €400 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners
  • 1 January 2017 – return of €500 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners
  • 1 January 2018 – return of €780 to most PSPR-impacted pensioners

and/or removing pensioners from the PSPR “net” entirely;

Note to Editors:

The Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR), commencing 1 January 2011, imposed reductions on annual public service pensions in payment in excess of €12,000, using a progressively tiered set of bands and rates with a top rate of 12% on any public service pension amount over €60,000. The legislation was amended from 1 January 2012 to increase the top rate of PSPR from 12% to 20% on the portion of any public service pension amount in excess of €100,000.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013 also provided for additional Public Service Pension Reduction rates ranging from 2% to 8% to be applied to all annual public service pensions in payment in excess of €32,500 from 1 July 2013.

Full-year savings from these pension measures is currently in excess of €125 million.

The cost of the measures is estimated at some €30m per annum or a cumulative cost of €90m over the three years to end 2018.

The number of pensioners affected by PSPR is 90,000.

PSPR Amelioration

On the proposal of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin TD, the Government has agreed to proceed with the necessary legislative amendments to ameliorate the effects of the “Public Service Pension Reduction” (PSPR), which reduces the pensions of many public service pensioners under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010.

The agreed changes, which are to be implemented in three stages on 1 January 2016, 1 January 2017 and 1 January 2018, will deliver a significant income boost to many PSPR-affected pensioners.

The details of the changes for each year are set out below, along with tables which illustrate the effects on pensioners at different income levels.  Note that the changes impact on the following three pensioner groups (who are currently impacted by separate PSPR reduction tables under the legislation):

Group 1: Pensions (pre-PSPR) above €12,000 and below €34,132, retirements before March 2012.

Group 2: Pensions (pre-PSPR) above €34,132, retirements before March 2012.

Group 3: Pensions (pre-PSPR) above €32,500, retirements from March 2012.

 

2016 PSPR Changes

Group 1: Increase exemption threshold (0% band) from €12,000 to €18,700.

Group 2: Increase 0% band upper limit from €12,000 to €17,000.

Group 3: Increase 0% band upper limit from €12,000 to €29,300.

2016 Annualised Benefit of PSPR amendments
Gross Pension Retired before 1 March 2012 Retired after 1 March 2012
% %
     14,000 120 0.9%
     16,000 240 1.5%
     18,000 360 2.0%
     20,000 402 2.0%
     25,000 402 1.6%
     30,000 402 1.3%
     32,000 402 1.3%
     35,000 400 1.1% 399 1.1%
     40,000 400 1.0% 399 1.0%
     50,000 400 0.8% 399 0.8%
     60,000 400 0.7% 399 0.7%
     70,000 400 0.6% 399 0.6%
     80,000 400 0.5% 399 0.5%
   100,000 400 0.4% 399 0.4%

2017 PSPR Changes

Group 1: Increase exemption threshold (0% band) from €18,700 to €26,000.

Group 2: Increase 0% band upper limit from €17,000 to €22,000;

Reduce rate on pension amount between €22,000 and €24,000 from 8% to 3%.

Group 3: Increase 0% band upper limit from €29,300 to €39,000;

Reduce rate on pension amount between €39,000 and €60,000 from 3% to 2%.

2017 Annualised Benefit of PSPR amendments
Gross Pension Retired before 1 March 2012 Retired after 1 March 2012
% %
     14,000 0.0%
     16,000 0.0%
     18,000 0.0%
     20,000 78 0.4%
     25,000 408 1.6%
     30,000 498 1.7%
     32,000 498 1.6%
     35,000 500 1.4% 171 0.5%
     40,000 500 1.3% 301 0.8%
     50,000 500 1.0% 401 0.8%
     60,000 500 0.8% 501 0.8%
     70,000 500 0.7% 501 0.7%
     80,000 500 0.6% 501 0.6%
   100,000 500 0.5% 501 0.5%

2018 PSPR Changes

Group 1: Increase exemption threshold (0% band) from €26,000 to €34,132, thereby removing PSPR from this Group entirely.

Group 2: Increase 0% band upper limit from €22,000 to €30,000.

Group 3: Increase 0% band upper limit from €39,000 to €60,000.

2018 Annualised Benefit of PSPR amendments
Gross Pension Retired before 1 March 2012 Retired after 1 March 2012
% %
     14,000 0.0%
     16,000 0.0%
     18,000 0.0%
     20,000 0.0%
     25,000 0.0%
     30,000 360 1.2%
     32,000 540 1.7%
     35,000 780 2.2% 0 0.0%
     40,000 780 2.0% 20 0.1%
     50,000 780 1.6% 220 0.4%
     60,000 780 1.3% 420 0.7%
     70,000 780 1.1% 420 0.6%
     80,000 780 1.0% 420 0.5%
   100,000 780 0.8% 420 0.4%

 

PSPR Changes – Cumulative Annual Benefit from January 2018

3 Year Cumulative Annualised Benefit of PSPR amendments
Gross Pension Retired before 1 March 2012 Retired after 1 March 2012
% %
     14,000            120 0.9%
     16,000            240 1.5%
     18,000            360 2.0%
     20,000            480 2.4%
     25,000            810 3.2%
     30,000         1,260 4.2%
     32,000         1,440 4.5%
     35,000         1,680 4.8% 570 1.6%
     40,000         1,680 4.2% 720 1.8%
     50,000         1,680 3.4% 1,020 2.0%
     60,000         1,680 2.8% 1,320 2.2%
     70,000         1,680 2.4% 1,320 1.9%
     80,000         1,680 2.1% 1,320 1.7%
   100,000         1,680 1.7% 1,320 1.3%

June 16th, 2015|Press Releases

 

PENSION “RESTORATION” PROPOSALS LEAKED TO INDUSTRIAL RELATION NEWS (ARTICLE BELOW)

PITTANCE PROPOSED  EVEN FOR THOSE ON VERY LOW PENSIONS!  450 Euro per year before tax!

43% of Pensioners to Get Nothing!   Will Pensions above 30,000 Euro get any increase?

If this proves true we will need “A ROBUST CAMPAIGN” of Public Rallies for “REAL RESTORATION” before General Election

NEWS – IRN 21 – 03/06/2015

Most public service pensioners to get up to €900 over two years

COLMAN HIGGINS & BRIAN SHEEHAN

A relaxation of the pension reductions applied to existing public service pensioners since 2011 is expected to mean a maximum benefit of €900 per annum over two years for about 80,000 of the current total of some 140,000 public service pensioners, IRN has learned.

IRN understands that this is the central outcome of the pensioners’ parallel, but separate, strand of talks, held during the main negotiations on the proposed Lansdowne Road Agreement, which deals with the issue of unwinding of the financial emergency measures imposed since the start of the crisis six years ago.

This is the first time that pensioner groups – which had formed themselves in the last two years into an Alliance of Retired Public Servants – have been involved in consultations with the Government, assisted on this occasion by the public services committee of the ICTU.

A promise was made before the talks to consider their position, involving a separate process of consultation.

As far back as February, the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Brendan Howlin told the Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice (IRN 8-15) that it would be his intention “as a matter of priority and at the earliest date economic progress permits, to move towards reducing the burden on public service pension reductions, with the initial focus on the people in receipt of low pensions”.

When the first public service pension reductions were applied in 2011, they were a unilateral Government decision and when some higher-paid public service pensioners had further cuts applied at the time of the Haddington Road deal in 2013, these were on thresholds of 50% of those applied to working public servants (on the basis that up to now at least, a full pension is 50% of the salary of those in each pensioner’s former grade).

‘ENGAGEMENT’

At the time of the second cuts in 2013, the then newly-formed Alliance of Retired Public Servants had been strongly critical of what it called the “lack of engagement” by Government on the cuts being applied.

The Alliance is made up of organisations representing 33,000 public service pensioners, including retired nurses and medical personnel, Gardai and army officers, teachers, firefighters and other retired civil and public servants.

ORIGINAL REDUCTIONS

The first public service pension reductions, applied from January 1, 2011, were based on the following bands: the first €12,000 of pension was exempt (based on the state pension, which is at a similar level); the next €12,000 up to €24,000 was cut by 6%; any pension amount between €24,001 to €60,000 was cut by 9%; and any amount over €60,001 was cut by 12%. The average cut was about 4%.

It is understood that the proposed new arrangement will mean increasing these thresholds to produce a maximum of €900 over two years for some 80,000 pensioners, but not all beneficiaries are expected to get the maximum.

Those on pensions under €12,000 would not have had reductions in the first place, so the question of restoration does not arise.

This initial public service pension reduction (PSPR) only applies to those who retired before February 29, 2012. This is because those retiring after that date had the full effect of the January 2010 public service pay cuts – which averaged 7% – reflected in their pensions and lump sums. Therefore, their pensions were already lower than the pre-February 2012 retirees even after the PSPR.

The second public service pension reduction, in 2013 after the Haddington Road Agreement, only applied to those with pensions above €32,500, which was half of the €65,000 threshold for pay cuts for serving public servants.

There were two separate schedules of cuts on that occasion: one for pre-February 2012 retirees, one for post-February 2012 retirees.

The pre-2012 group, by far the more numerous of the two, had the following reductions, which replace their original PSPR: first €12,000 exempt; amounts over €12,000 to €24,000 – 8%; amounts from €24,000 to €60,000 – 12%; amounts from €60,000 to €100,000 – 17%; any amounts over €100,000 – 28%.

The post-2012 group had the following reductions: first €12,000 exempt; amounts over €12,000 to €24,000 – 2%; amounts from €24,000 to €60,000 – 3%; amounts from €60,000 to €100,000 – 5%; any amounts over €100,000 – 8%.

Update May 19

Danger of Bad Agreement on Public Service Pension “Restoration”

Personal Message from Paddy Healy, Former President TUI  086-4183732

There is a danger of an agreement being concluded which would be seriously prejudicial to the interest of public service pensioners EVEN IF WE GOT A SMALL PENSION INCREASE BEFORE THE ELECTION

 

This would be so if  (a) The Agreement failed to restore the automatic link between pensions and salary of serving peer. (This principle won by an alliance of  public service pensioners in 1961 was given away  by   the public service unions in Croke Park 1)

                                         (b) If the agreement, either explicitly or by implication,  could be legally interpreted as a ceding of our right to pensions as our private property under the constitution and under the European Convention on Human Rights (Government can be expected to attempt to close off vulnerability to  legal action as a quid pro quo for any pension increase.                                                                     

       Preliminary legal advice to Dublin Branch Members is that the selective reduction of public service pensions is  a breach of EHCR to which Ireland is a signatory) 

 

  • Automatic Link to Serving  Peer

This link should be explicitly written in to any agreement as a first priority. Because pensions are private property under the Irish Constitution and the ECHR, any agreement should also provide for full restitution of our private property. That is retrospective payment of the money withheld through pension cuts.

The worst possible kind of agreement would be one in which there was a small pension increase and mere promises for the future without any explicit timetable of increases leading to full restoration. Because of the reduced life expectancy of our members any timetable should be very short. On the death of a pensioner all outstanding restitution should be paid to the estate of the deceased.

  • Legal and Constitutional Issues

Any Agreement that does not provide for full restoration and full restitution could be interpreted as a ceding of our private property by the courts. Government can be accepted to attempt to put such an agreement in place. When the “emergency” is over, ourselves or our estates will be entitled to such restoration and restitution in any event. This gives us a strong bargaining position.

There is no property right to tax concessions. Despite this the government spent c. 80 million giving tax reductions to the top 5% of earners(c.108,000) whose average salary (singles and jointly taxed couples)  is c. 180,000 Euro per annum according to Michael Noonan in response to a PQ from Seamus Healy TD. It is promising to do the same, if not worse, in the next budget. Our trade unions should not allow such a disbursal of funds when pensioners have ownership of that portion of exchequer funds which funds our pensions. It is effectively giving away some of our money to others. Pensioners have a  a clear priority under the constitution to priority in disbursement. Trade unions to which we have contributed financially and of our time should seek to legally injunct any attempt to repeat this exercise in the coming budget until our property is restored.

Above all no document of agreement should be accepted which implicitly or explicitly involves our ceding of our property rights

 

ADDENDUM

Trade unions should not conclude any agreement on pay until a satisfactory pensions agreement is concluded. It would be totally unacceptable should retired members of trade unions be left solely with a politician’s promise of future restoration.

Clearly any document of agreement must be put to ballot of retired members of each union for acceptance or rejection as is the case with the pay of serving members

Paddy Healy

Update March 20

Mass Regional Meeting Cork Mon Next March 23-ALLiance of Retired Public Servants-Restore Pension Cuts  Rochestown Park Hotel 7.30

Restore Public Service Pensions-Our Private Property under the Constitution    

     Support the Campaign to Restore Pension Cuts!

          On Monday 23rd March 2015

 Rochestown Park Hotel Cork at 7.30 pm

 MAKE IT HUGE!

contact

Sean O Riordain (Retired Civil and Public Servants’ Association) 087 2521072051 397755 oriordain.s@gmail.com

 

FROM RMA TUI  WEBSITE

Alliance – Cork Regional Meeting

Alliance of Retired Public Servants – Cork Regional Meeting 

On Monday 23rd March 2015

Rochestown Park Hotel Cork at 7.30 pm

 The Alliance of Retired Public Servants was established in January 2014 as an alliance of public sector pensioner organisations, representing retired civil servants, teachers, local authority and health employees, nurses, doctors, gardai, army officers and other retired public servants. Since its formation, the Alliance Council and Officers have been engaged in representing the interests of retired public servants with senior Government politicians and officials including three meetings with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D.

The Alliance decided to hold a series of regional briefings for members of its constituent organisations, and three very well attended meetings  in Limerick, Enniscorthy and Athlone respectively  have already been held. The next meeting will be held in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork at 7.30pm on Monday, 23rd March 2015.  All retired public servants in the Cork area are invited to attend.

The Officers of the Alliance will brief the meeting on its activities to date and on its plans for the future.  The briefings will be followed by a question and answer session.

 UPDATE  MARCH  2

REPORT OF MIDLANDS REGIONAL MEETING ALLIANCE OF RETIRED PUBLIC SERVANTS

INTRODUCTION FROM PADDY HEALY

Restore Public Service Pensions-Our Private Property under the Constitution  

There is no private property right to tax relief but Taoiseach Kenny has promised a 1 % reduction in the top rate of tax in NEXT BUDGET

MINISTER NOONAN in REPLY to PQ from SEAMUS HEALY TD  INFORMED THE DAIL THAT THE

TOP 10,000 TAXPAYERS HAVE AVERAGE INCOMES OF 595,000 EURO PER YEAR EACH!!!

 GOVERNMENT WILL GIVE THEM 1% OF 550,000 OR  5,500 EURO PER YEAR EACH IN BUDGET OR A GROSS 55 MILLION EURO TO THE COHORT OF 10,000

THIS MONEY IS OUR PROPERTY AS PENSIONERS

ALRP OFFICIAL REPORT

CONFISCATION OF OUR PRIVATE PROPERTY MUST END!!

Retired Public Servants Meet in Athlone    Mike Moriarty       Retired Secondary Teachers Association (ASTI)   Member of ALRP Executive

mike@absent-teacher.com    087-6203621

 A well attended meeting of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants was held in Athlone on a bitterly cold March Monday night. Mike Moriarty, treasurer of the Alliance and Vice President of the Retired Secondary Teachers Association (RSTA) opened the meeting by informing the large and very attentive gathering that the pensions to which public servants contributed over 40 years were the property of the pensioners and that the

Government used emergency legislation to grab a proportionately larger part of their income than the took from serving public servants. Serving public servants were consulted but pensioners were not; they were not even given a place at the table where their property was confiscated. Taxation without representation is tyranny. Furthermore, they are discriminated against compared to private sector pensioners as they pay a higher USC on comparable income. He informed those present since, according to Minister Michael Noonan, the emergency is over as our National Debt is sustainable and since all the economic indicators are pointing in the right direction, it

is time to repeal the emergency legislation and to give us back our property immediately. The attendance was informed by Brian Burke of Impact and Chairman of the Alliance that the Alliance is made up of 17 groups which represent most if not all retired public servants and was formed three years ago. It was also noted that last year Minister Brendan Howlin gave official recognition to the Alliance as the body representing 75,000 public servants; this number now exceeds 100,000 retired public servants. We have had two meetings with the Minister who noted our concerns but did nothing about them in the budget. Brian made it clear that we want: negotiating rights for retired public servants, the repeal of the emergency legislation, fair treatment re USC and our property back now. We cannot wait as 3,000 to 4,000 of retired public servants die every year. We would rather that they did not die in

poverty. He went on to destroy the myth that Public Service Pensions (PSP) are “gold plated”. The average PSP he said is about €20,000 which is €2,000 less than the Contributory Old Age Pension (COAP) for a couple.

The retired public servant does not get the COAP and neither, usually, does the spouse. He reminded themeeting that we have huge voting power and that we will use our vote to best further our aims. Gerry Blake of Garda Retired and Vice Chairman of the Alliance informed the members that the Garda Retired have a website (www.gardaretired.com) where they display information on all things Alliance and that it is there for the use of all members of the

Alliance. It was also suggested that those present should pass on their contact information to their respective representative bodies for the use of the Alliance and to pass along any text message they receive to all their retired contacts.

The meeting was then thrown open to the floor and a lively session ensued with some frank exchanges and great suggestions as to what needs to be done. Suggestions ranged from lobbing politicians, to marches

and to putting forward our own candidates in the next general election. One such suggestion was that there should be regional branches formed and there were enough volunteers to ensure that the Midlands are in the

lead in the race to form the first Regional Branch of the Alliance. Having been informed that the next regional meeting is in Cork the meeting ended.    MIKE MORIARTY

Restore Public Service Pensions-Our Private Property under the Constitution   

There is no private property right to tax relief but Taoiseach Kenny has promised a 1 % reduction in the top rate of tax in NEXT BUDGET

MINISTER NOONAN in REPLY to PQ from SEAMUS HEALY TD  INFORMED THE DAIL THAT THE

TOP 10,000 TAXPAYERS HAVE AVERAGE INCOMES OF 595,000 EURO PER YEAR EACH!!!

 GOVERNMENT WILL GIVE THEM 1% OF 550,000 OR  5,500 EURO PER YEAR EACH IN BUDGET OR A GROSS 55 MILLION EURO TO THE COHORT OF 10,000

THIS MONEY IS OUR PROPERTY AS PENSIONERS

UPDATE FEB 25

Press Release from Retired Secondary Teachers Association

MASS Regional Meeting of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants to be Held in Athlone

SHERATON HOTEL ATHLONE, 730pm, Monday MARCH 2

The Alliance of Retired Public Servants is to hold a meeting in Athlone for all retired public servants in the Midlands on 2nd March at 7:30 pm in the Sheraton Hotel. The purpose of the meeting is to raise awareness among our members of the disgraceful way in which public service pensioners have been treated and to demand that this government or the one that replaces it makes a binding commitment that pensions will be restored to the levels pertaining before the financial emergency. After all, if government ministers are to be believed, the emergency is over!

Retired public servants were denied access to the Croke Park/ Haddington Road talks on the grounds that pensions were not being discussed. Nevertheless, pensions were cut, and cut disproportionately. Cuts were imposed on income over €65,000 for public servants but for public service pensioners, cuts were imposed on income over €32,500. Taxation without representation is tyranny.

In response, the RSTA has worked with other retired public servants’ organisations to establish the Alliance of Retired Public Servants. Following a sustained effort by RSTA and our colleagues in the Alliance, representing at least 75,000 voters, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has now granted recognition to the Alliance of Retired Public Servants as a ‘formalised representative body for public service pensioners’. This is a highly significant development which will enable the continuing engagement between the Government and the Alliance on issues in respect of public service pensioners. This commitment is all well and good but now we need the relevant minister to go further and grant us negotiating rights.

We are determined that we must never again be excluded from the negotiation table whenever pensions and entitlements are being discussed. Now we call on every retired public servant to join your respective organisation so we can use the strength of our numbers to get the pension reduction reversed. If you do nothing, pensioners will again be left at the back of the queue as the economy improves. RSTA is committed to pursuing this campaign vigorously.  All retired public servants are invited to the Regional Meeting in Athlone.

Contrary to popular belief, public service pensioners are not privileged “fat cats” – the average civil service pension is in the order of €20,000 per annum and considerably less than 1% of civil servants receive pensions over €100,000 per annum; the vast majority of public service pensioners do not receive the state pension and their spouses (usually wives) who worked in the home have no entitlement to the state old age pension. Subtracting the Noncontributory Old Age Pension of about € 11,000 from €20,000 means that a public servant made contributions for 40 years for a pension of €9,000. As we all know €9,000 will not buy much gold plate.

Mike Moriarty       Retired Secondary Teachers Association (ASTI)

mike@absent-teacher.com

Update Feb 18

The Alliance of Retired Public Servants

” In the circumstances, and the longer it goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to convincingly argue that the contribution from retired public servants is so essential to economic recovery that the continued use of emergency powers against pensioners is either necessary or justified in the common good.”

NEWSLETTER | JANUARY 2015

INTRODUCTION

The Alliance is issuing this Newsletter with a view to keeping constituent pension organisations and their members, individual public service pensioners, up to date on current pension related developments.

The Alliance is also suggesting how individual pensioners might help in relation to the Alliance campaign for the ending of emergency powers used to reduce public service pensions, and for the ending of discrimination against public service pensioners in the application of the Universal Social Charge.

 BACKGROUND

The Alliance is comprised of pension organisations representing about 75,000 retired public servants – including former civil servants, local authority and health employees, teachers, nurses, doctors, gardai, defence force personnel and others.

The Alliance came together informally in 2013 against the background of public service pensioners having no voice in relation to the introduction by government of emergency legislation reducing pensions and, following a meeting at the time with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Alliance was established on a formal basis in 2014.

PENSION DEDUCTIONS

The effect of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation (Acts of 2011 and 2013) is that emergency powers are used to reduce all public service pensions over €12,000 per annum by between 8% and 28%.

Many public servants are on pension levels equivalent to those which applied at the turn of the century and, at the rate things are going, many will be dead before the pensions they worked all their lives for are restored.

The level of pension reduction is penal at this stage given the extent of the economic recovery and the fact that it is in addition to the general austerity measures which particularly impact on pensioners – the ongoing medical cost inflation, lower income thresholds for medical card eligibility, cuts to medical insurance tax relief, increased exposure with age to medical expenditure, major other cuts to disposable income including waste disposal charges, local property tax, water charges, electricity, fuel and telephone benefits under the household benefits package.

UNIVERSAL SOCIAL CHARGE

The position in relation to the Universal Social Charge is that public service pensioners pay this charge on all their pension income if their pension exceeds €12,012, whereas pensioners on coordinated pensions (state plus occupational pension – the private sector norm) pay no Universal Social Charge on the state element of their pensions.

This, for example, means that a private sector pensioner in receipt of a state pension for dependent spouse and self, both over 66, on a coordinated pension income of €34,684 pays no Universal Social Charge whereas an equivalent public service pensioner on the same pension is subject to the Universal Social Charge on all income and therefore pays €1,572. This is fundamentally discriminatory and unfair.

PERCEPTIONS V REALITY

Public service pensioners are private citizens who spent their working lives in the service of the state; their contract, which is completed on their side, was with a sovereign government (which doesn’t default!) and pension arrangements were a critical element of their employment; they contributed to their pensions at rates deemed appropriate by successive governments.

Contrary to popular belief, public service pensioners are not privileged “fat cats” – the average civil service pension is in the order of €20,000 per annum and considerably less than 1% of civil servants receive pensions over €100,000 per annum; overwhelmingly, public service pensioners do not receive the state pension and their spouses (usually wives) who worked in the home have no entitlement to the state pension deriving from their retired spouses public service employment.

ALIENATION

The present reality, not surprisingly, is that very many public service pensioners have become alienated from government.

Given popular misconceptions about public service pensions, they are perceived as an easy target and they are now afraid that, in improved economic circumstances, the emergency powers will continue to be used into the future leading, in effect, to a situation in which public servants (retired and serving) will, de facto, be funding more populist financial relief measures leading up to and beyond the general election.

EMERGENCY POWERS

The amount of money deducted under emergency powers from public service pensioners in 2014 is estimated officially to be €125 million. The €125 million sounds and is a lot to an individual but in terms of the running of the state it is by no means essential. It is only 0.2% (zero point two percent) of the total state expenditure of €54 billion in 2014.

The government decided that it was not necessary to take a further €2 billion in taxes/cuts in the 2015 budget. The exchequer returns at the end of August 2014 showed that tax receipts exceeded estimates by €1 billion and, in the full year, the government took an extra €3.5 billion in taxes compared to 2013, which was an increase of 9.2%. The official expectation is that the deficit for 2015 will be 2.7%, i.e. below the 3% deficit target.

In the circumstances, and the longer it goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to convincingly argue that the contribution from retired public servants is so essential to economic recovery that the continued use of emergency powers against pensioners is either necessary or justified in the common good.

Emergency powers have been used to restrict the property rights of public service pensioners in a situation where, by contrast, over €1 billion was put into the pension funds of the state owned Allied Irish Banks on the basis of recognising the legal obligations to bank pensioners. Are the property rights of public service pensioners, who have spent their working lives in the service of the state, not deserving of equal recognition?

THE ALLIANCE PROGRAMME

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in May 2013, indicated to the Alliance his intention as a matter of priority to move towards reducing the burden of the public service pension reduction, with the initial focus on people on low pensions, as soon as economic circumstances permit. At a meeting with the Alliance in July, 2014, the Minister indicated that talks would be held with the public service unions in 2015 about the orderly winding down of the emergency legislation in relation to public service pay and with the Alliance in relation to public service pensions.

We urgently need specifics as to what the government has in mind and we have looked for another meeting with the Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform.

The Alliance has also recently written to the leaders of political parties in government and opposition and to all T.D.s and senators advising them of the concerns of retired public servants and seeking their assistance and that of their parties in ending, at the earliest opportunity, the use of emergency powers to reduce public service pensions and ending the discriminatory application of the Universal Social Charge to public service pensioners.

The Alliance will continue to pursue these approaches at political level and will advice public service pension organisations, for the information of their members, of the responses received.

The Alliance is also arranging regional meetings of public service pension organisations and is asking each organisation to contact local politicians and to circulate this Newsletter for information to members. The Alliance is briefing the national media and is asking constituent organisations to maintain contact with the local media.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

This Newsletter is intended to bring you up to date on pension related matters and there is a great deal you can do to help.

Each pensioner matters, and you may wish to ensure that all your local T.D.s and senators are contacted and made aware of the effects of the use of emergency powers to reduce your pension and of the discriminatory application of the Universal Social Charge on you and your dependents and the need to address these matters. You may also wish to advise your friends and contacts generally on the reality of public service pension life on a reduced income.

Just remember, the old days are gone. With the pressures on pensions generally these days, public service pensioners will have to be prepared to make their voices heard now if they want to be treated fairly in the future. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

It is also time for government to put arrangements in place to end the use of emergency powers to reduce public service pensions and to end the discrimination in relation to the application of the Universal Social Charge to public service pensioners.

Go and talk to your local T.D.s and senators and make your voice heard locally. If you don’t take your own situation seriously, no one else will.

ALLIANCE OFFICERS

The current officers of the Alliance are Brian Burke, Chairman (IMPACT), Gerard Blake (Garda Siochána Retired Members’ Association), Mike Moriarty (ASTI Retired Secondary Teachers’ Association) and Christy Conville (TUI Retired Members’ Association).

ALLIANCE OF RETIRED PUBLIC SERVANTS

Media Contacts

Contact Phone Email
Brian Burke, Chairman (IMPACT) 087 8289091 brien.burke.ie@gmail.com
Christy Conville, Secretary (Retired Managers’ Association/TUII) 087 1259733 convilles43@gmail.com
Sean O Riordain (Retired Civil and Public Servants’ Association) 087 2521072051 397755 oriordain.s@gmail.com
Jim Dorney (Retired Managers’ Association/TUI) 087 25581877 jdorney66@gmail.com
Paschal Feeney,(Garda Siochána Retired Members’ Association) 086 857064901 4781525 info@gardaretired.com
Denis Desmond (Retired Teachers Association of Ireland) 01 2454130 info@rtaireland.ie
Derek Ryan (Organisation of National Ex-Service Men and Women) 087 3115607 18.ryan@gmail.com

Correspondence to the Alliance may be addressed to the Alliance Secretary, Christy Conville at the TUI Retired Members’ Association, 73 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6.

Media releases issued by the Alliance and up to date information on public service pension matters are available on the following web sites:

gardaretired.com

recpsa.ie

rtaireland.ie

rmatui.ie

rsti.ie

oneconnect.ie

Update Feb 17

MASS RALLY FOR RESTORATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE PENSIONS

Alliance of Retired Public Servants Regional Rally

730 pm Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, March 2

MAKE IT HUGE!

UPDATE FEB 14

GOVERNMENT CLIMBS DOWN ON FAIR DEAL COST INCREASES 

NOW DEMAND RESTORATION OF PENSION CUTS!

From Paul Cullen, Irish Times , Feb 14

Quick to deny that older people will be asked to fork out more for Fair Deal nursing home packages, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch has been less clear about where the extra funding for the scheme can be raised. Despite the financial pressures on Fair Deal, Lynch says the existing contribution levels will not be changed.

It wasn’t hard to detect the influence of political handlers when she appeared on radio attempting to clarify remarks made to the Oireachtas health committee a day earlier, when she bluntly told TDs the scheme was unsustainable.

“The notion that you would pay €260-€290 for a service costing anything up to €1,200 is unsustainable,” she said. She added that the State would pick up only “some” of the extra cost of the scheme.

With politically embarrassing front-page headlines reporting the only reasonable inference from her remarks – that extra charges would be levied on the users of the scheme – Lynch went on a damage-limitation exercise.

UPDATE   Feb 13  2015

RESIST INCREASED COST OF “FAIR DEAL”!   RESTORE PENSION CUTS!

Labour Party Minister to Charge Aged More For Nursing Home Care

“Thousands of older people will have to contribute more to the cost of their nursing home care under changes to be made to the Fair Deal scheme, a Government Minister has warned.

Any society which cannot provide nursing home care to its senior citizens as part of a national health service free at the point of use is seriously disfunctional. It is appalling that a Labour Party Minister in a government which has already cut public service pensions, imposed a levy on private sector pensions and is allowing pension funds (eg Aer Lingus) to renege on their obligations, should now launch a further attack on the aged at their most vulnerable time in life.

The NATIONAL PENSION RESERVE FUND has been spent on bailing out private investors in banks. Government now spends over 7 billion per year to service debts incurred to bail out banks and give tax breaks to the rich.

A Labour Party minister now says that less than 1 billion per year is too much to spend on caring for the old!!!!

We,pensioners, are the generation that paid a top marginal tax rate of 70% on low incomes. We have paid billions in taxes to the state over many years. We have made sacrifices to educate ourselves and our children from which the economy has benefited greatly.

THIS NEW ATTACK ON TH OLD MUST BE RESISTED!!!

IRISH TIMES FEB 2015

“It’s called Fair Deal for a very good reason because everyone has access to it, but we do have to take a serious look at the additional funding needed.” Ms Lynch said only “some” of this extra funding would come from the public purse, meaning the rest of the shortfall will have to be made up by new users of the scheme. At present, people contribute up to 80 per cent of their assessable income and 7.5 per cent of the value of their assets per annum, but this may have to be increased for new entrants to address the funding gap caused by soaring demand.

Minister of State for Primary Care Kathleen Lynch said the scheme, which funds long-term nursing home care for more than 22,000 people, is “unsustainable in its present form” and will have to be changed. “The notion that you would pay €260-€290 for a service costing anything up to €1,200 is unsustainable,” she told the Oireachtas health committee.”

—————————————————————————————————

Have ICTU Agreed to Restore Pay Without Restoring Pensions in Payment in New Social Dialogue?

Discussion Document

“Government is terrified someone will go into the High Court and get FEMPI struck down”  Martin Wall, Chief Industrial Correspondent, Irish Times, 31 Jan, 2015, Marian Finucane Show,RTE

Government has announced that it will begin a social dialogue with employers and unions in spring of this year (before the end of April next). These discussions will include the restoration of pay cuts to public servants. Restoration of Pensions in Payment Will Not Be On the Agenda!!!

 Delegates to the Alliance of Retired Public Servants, were told some time ago that trade unions could no longer represent pensioned members in negotiations with government. My request for proof of the change was brushed aside. This was part of the justification of the setting up of an Alliance of Retired Public Servants which is not a constituent part of ICTU. ICTU was heavily involved in the setting up of the organisation and arranging that officials of Minister Howlins Department would talk to it.

There is no truth whatsoever in the contention that trade unions can no longer represent pensioners in negotiations !! ALRP delegates were misled. I have checked with Industrial relations and legal professionals and made use of the Dáil Library. There has been no relevant legal change since ICTU negotiated on our behalf in Croke Park 1. ICTU including ICTU Public Services Committee  agreed to break the link between pensions in payment and the pay of serving peer in PS Agreement 2010 to 2014 (Croke Park 1) :

“Public Service Pensions

  1. As announced in Budget 2010, the Government has decided to introduce a new single pension scheme for all new entrants to the public service. Consultations on the new scheme have started between the parties and it is agreed that these consultations will conclude in time for legislation to be enacted to allow for the introduction of the scheme on 1 January 2011. Discussions will take place on the method of determining pension increases for existing public service pensioners and current public servants in the context of the review of pay policy in Spring 2011”.

The principle of parity with serving peer was a historic achievement of public service pensioners through their trade unions. It was shamefully given away by the public service trade unions negotiating on our behalf with government in 2010. Pensioned members of most unions were given no vote on this agreement which seriously damaged our interests.

Why would ICTU blatantly misinform pensioner organisations to the effect that it was no longer in a position to represent pensioned members and then set up a parallel negotiating structure for the outcomes of which ICTU and its constituent unions  would have no responsibility???

It  is clear that ICTU have done a deal with government to separate negotiations on pay and conditions of serving members from negotiations on pensions in payment.

I am driven to the inescapable conclusion that ICTU has agreed to give restoration of pay priority over restoration of pensions in payment.

As the social dialogue process is to begin shortly and a general election is less than a year away, there is grave danger that ICTU will soon agree some schedule for pay restoration while pensioners are left with mere promises and “plámás” from officials of Minister Howlin’s Department.

WHY PENSION RESTORATION SHOULD NOT BE DELAYED

Human Reason

Pensions are either part or the whole of older peoples life savings. Minister Noonan has recently said that employees have had seven years of austerity and people have only one life to live! Normally pensioners have lived the greater part of their life. It is particularly cruel to reduce the incomes of  pensioners who are in their last years in this world!

LEGAL ISSUES

It is agreed by all, including Minister Howlin, that pensions are the property rights of the individual. Our Pensions have been cut under two Acts of the Oireachtas, FEMPI 1 and FEMPI 2. FEMPI stands for Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest.

When FEMPI 1 was introduced by the FF/Green Government a number of unions got legal advice as to its constitutionality. It was advised that though property rights are protected from confiscation under the constitution this protection is “subject to the common good”. In the context of the unprecedented economic crisis it was held that the government would have a strong defence against a constitutional action for the restoration of pensions.

THE LEGAL POSITION HAS NOW CHANGED UTTERLY! WHY?

“Government is terrified someone will go into the High Court and get FEMPI struck down”  Martin Wall, Chief Industrial Correspondent, Irish Times, 31 Jan, 2015, Marian Finucane Show,RTE

The Taoiseach has publicly stated that the emergency is over. Government ministers are regularly stating that the economy is in recovery.

Crucially, government has announced that the forthcoming social dialogue will include consideration of restoration of public service PAY.

Government has already given tax relief to wealthy individuals and has stated its intention to give further relief in the coming budget.

Clearly, as far as government is concerned the emergency is over.

Our life savings, our pensions, are part of state funds.

Is the government now giving part of our savings to individuals who have no property rights in state funds while continuing to pay reduced pensions to those who have such property rights?

AS RECOGNISED BY THE CHIEF INDUSTRIAL CORREPONDENT OF IRISH TIMES,THE FEMPI ACTS WHICH CUT OUR PENSIONS ARE NOW CONSTITUTIONALLY INDEFENSIBLE

Because the FEMPI ACTS are EMERGENCY LEGISLATION, MINISTER HOWLIN HAS TO REPORT TO DAIL EACH YEAR IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THEIR CONTINUATION.

THE UNIONS ARE FACING AN OPEN DOOR ON PENSIONS!

THE PROBLEM IS THAT THEY HAVE AGREED NOT TO PUSH IT.

I will be making recommendations shortly to PS pensioners as to how this situation can be addressed.

Paddy Healy

—————————————————————————

Finance Minister Ml Noonan said recently that “people have only one life to live- In the seventh year of austerity people are becoming weary” 

THIS MAKES AN UNANSWERABLE CASE FOR URGENT RESTORATION OF PENSIONS

PENSIONERS HAVE A SHORTER LIFE TO LIVE THAN THE REST OF THE POPULATION

————————————————————————————————————–

Restoration of Public Service Pensions–Dáil Question to Minister Howlin

Brian Burke, Sec of Alliance of Retired Public servants has thanked Deputy Seamus Healy for Raising the question below in the Dail on Dec 16, 2014

Public Sector Pensions

  1. Deputy Seamus Healy   asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform   as pay and pensions in payment are now being processed separately in the public service, if he will introduce legislation to give the Alliance of Retired Public Servants a statutory right to audience with Government and pension authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48118/14]

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The effect of my question is to ask the Minister if he will agree to introduce legislation to provide for a legal right for public service pensioners to an audience with the Government and pension authorities and access to the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission on a statutory basis rather than on a concession basis.

Deputy Brendan Howlin:   Again, I thank Deputy Healy for the question. The question of legislation to give rights to pensioners or representatives of pensioners to engage in industrial relations matters or to appear before the State’s industrial tribunals is a matter within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, not mine. It of course is not necessary for any group to have legislation passed or to have legislation passed on behalf of its representatives to seek to engage with any Minister of the Government. I am happy that the Alliance of Retired Public Servants has formed a group to give voice to the major concerns of public service pensioners. When I first met pensioners in May 2013, I indicated to them my support for the formation of such a grouping. I also stated my intention as a matter of priority to move towards reducing the burden of public service pension reductions, with the initial focus on the people in receipt of low pensions, at the earliest date that economic progress permitted.

Following the formal establishment of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants as an alliance open to all public service pension organisations earlier this year, I instructed my officials to make contact with the alliance and to engage with its representatives on the specific matters that concern them. Moreover, I have myself met the alliance’s representatives to discuss their particular concerns about the impact of the measures introduced over the last few years, especially on the incomes of public sector pensioners. I therefore am fully aware of the concerns which have been raised regarding the ongoing imposition of public service pension reductions on the pensions of many retired public servants. I am required to review the financial emergency measures in the public interest, FEMPI, legislation annually, having regard to the purposes of the legislation. In my most recent report laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in June 2014, I concluded that the continuation of the public service pension reduction, PSPR, remained necessary. However, it is important that I, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, give consideration as to how, over the medium term, pay and pensions policy currently underpinned by that FEMPI legislation will be unwound. Any proposals to amend the FEMPI Acts, including any changes to the public service pension reduction, will of course require primary legislation to be brought before the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:   I thank the Minister and will come back to him. I call Deputy Healy.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Alliance of Retired Public Servants was established informally in 2013 and formally this year. It represents approximately 75,000 retired public servants right across the Civil Service, local authorities, health employees etc. I accept fully and welcome that the Minister has met the alliance. However, he has done so on a concessionary basis and I ask him to introduce legislation that will give the alliance a legal or a statutory right to representation. That is a reasonable request from the pensioners. Briefly, the position concerning pensioners is that pensions are in fact property rights and quite a substantial number of pensioners, approximately 1,500, die each year. I request that the Minister restore the cuts in pensions and that he legislate to ensure any outstanding moneys to pensioners who have died will be paid into their estates

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: