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Lest we forget, public sector pensions were also hit

I refer to the recent, article relating to Taxi Driver’s Rights written by Paul Mills concerning defined pension schemes enjoyed by particular sections of society and I quote “most of the defined pension schemes have collapsed and with it any chance we might have of getting the pension we worked so hard for.

So how come those boys and girls at the top of Government, the public sector and the banks seem to be able to continue to expect that their defined benefit pension, or however they term it, will be paid”.

Has Mr Mills ever heard of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010? This Act applies to very specific sections of our citizens and excludes others. The selected citizens are those who are employed by, or who hold an office or other position in a public service body. The Act does not apply to semi-state bodies or the private sector. Under this Act the public service pensions are reduced by 6% over €12,000, 9% over €24,000 and 12% over €60,000 and have effect, notwithstanding any other provision such as written agreement, contractual arrangement or any understanding of expectation. In addition, another 2.75% levy has also been applied. Mr Mills goes on to say that persons who were offered a defined pension expected that it would be honoured and suggests it should be a property right.

As a public service pensioner (not retired) and who paid both PRSI and Superannuation Contributions to provide a defined pension benefit, I now find that the foregoing Act has dishonoured my employment contract by retrospectively changing its pension conditions. It should be said that public servants duly paid all their contributions as required under their terms of employment and also had an expectation of pension benefit. As a result of the Act, which is very selective of our society, and of course the actions of the private sector such as our banks and others, we now all suffer in some way. When Mr Mills refers to the Government making special rules for its own friends, perhaps he should reflect on the fact that our Government also makes special rules in the case of public servants, which I suggest is discriminatory in our country where all citizens are deemed to have constitutional equality.

In conclusion, it should be said that while all tax-paying citizens subscribe to benefit from our public services and social welfare, do not forget that the private sector of failed banks and private speculation are major consumers of our citizens’ monies.

John Healy
Co Cork


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