Thank you and Deputy Calleary for meeting us last Wednesday. During our discussion we were very glad to hear of Fianna Fail’s continued commitment to restoring all public service pensions by 2019 and your intention to write reiterating same. Recognising that Minister Donohoe is preparing to legislate regarding FEMPI soon and your consultative role, I would like to make the following observations. The pensions of over 140,000 public service pensioners have been reduced since 2010. Approximately 4,000 pensioners die each year. Between 2010 and 2015 an estimated 20,000 retired public servants died without any restoration. From 2016 to 2018 up to a further 12,000 will not live to see their pensions fully restored. As things stand 20% of PSP’s from 2018 onward will still be without their full pensions. The commitment in the Programme for Government talks about a restoration date of 2021! This contrasts with Fianna Fail’s position of 2019 and, put simply, we cannot wait that long. At a meeting with DPER officials in May we were given to understand that 2021 was no longer on the agenda. We took this to mean that the remaining pensions would be restored sooner. Unfortunately there was no evidence of this at our subsequent meeting with the minister. I will acknowledge that there is a commitment to restore parity, that the post 2012 anomaly of pensions further reduced is accepted and that there will be some small improvement for low pensions next year. This was a by-product of the PSSA rather than a response to PSP’s. Given that the emergency is well and truly over, that the legal basis for continued reductions is tenuous to say the least, the minister recently stated as much in the Dail, the Alliance is looking for a clear pathway for the full restoration of PSP’s at the very latest by 2019. There is no doubt that the funding will be available by then, it will cost an estimated 35 million euro to restore remaining pensions, the expected fiscal space is conservatively put at over 3 billion euro for 2019 and our economy continues to be one of the healthiest in Europe. To conclude, there is no justification for continued use of emergency powers to reduce our pensions and we thank Fianna Fail for its support in this matter. If you need any further information I will be more than pleased to provide same. The Alliance is also heartened by the positive approach by Fianna Fail in outlining a possible negotiating process for public service pensioners and your support for the restoration of old age pensions affected by the 2012 legislation.
Yours Sincerely Brian Burke Chairperson.