Minister’s dithering means 50,000 people will lose out on their pension entitlements – O’Dea


url-3FIANNA Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD, says over 50,000 people that were paying into pensions will be left with nothing because new pension guidelines introduced by the Government contain no retrospective elements.

Deputy O’Dea said people paying into Defined Benefit Pension Schemes which have been wound up since the current Government came into office have been ignored in the new guidelines published by Minister Joan Burton.

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Deputy O’Dea commented: “Minister Burton knew of the pension time bomb when she came into office almost three years ago. Fianna Fáil published pensions legislation a number of months ago but Minister Burton has taken too long to respond.

“The Minister’s dithering means that 50,000 people that were part of pension schemes that went bust will now be left totally out of pocket with no hope of regaining any of the money they have lost.”

Deputy O’Dea also raised concerns about an apparent discrimination between double and single insolvencies.

“The new guidelines also contain discrimination between double and single insolvencies. In the former case, the state will guarantee 50% of dividends for non-retired people where both the company and the pension scheme are insolvent but there is no similar guarantee where only the pension scheme is insolvent.

“It also appears now as if the Pension Fund Levy will be extended indefinitely despite promises from the Government to end it in 2015. Under the guise of helping future and current pensioners, the Government seems intent on putting its hand into people’s pockets indefinitely for an unspecified amount of money.

“The new funding rules will force many Defined Benefit Schemes to become Defined Contribution Schemes where people will have the privilege of paying the levy to guarantee the pensions of those lucky enough to remain in Defined Benefit Schemes.

“The new legislation on pension schemes was published today and it will be debated and rammed through the Dáil next week. This is a very complex area and it demands more analysis and scrutiny. We have been waiting three years for the legislation and now it is intended to deal with this in haste. I would have thought that the Government would have learned their lesson from ramming throughout the Property Tax legislation, which transpired to contain numerous errors and oversights.”