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Public sector pensions hit also

I refer to the recent article relating to taxi drivers’ rights written by Paul Mills concerning defined pension schemes enjoyed by particular sections of society.

I quote: “most of the defined pension schemes have collapsed and with it any chance we might have of getting that 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 office or other positions in a public service body. The Act does not apply to semi-state bodies or the private sector. Under this Act the public sector pensions are reduced by 6% over €12,000; 9% over €24,000 and 12% over €60,000 and have effect, notwithstanding of expectation.

In addition a further 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, now retired, who paid both PRSI and superannuation contributions to provide a defined pension benefit, I now find the 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 Government making special rules for public servants, I suggest this is discriminatory, all citizens are deemed to have constitutional equality. All tax-paying citizens subscribe to benefit from our public services and social welfare. Do not forget the private sector, failed banks and private speculation are major consumers of our money.

John Healy
Co Cork


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