Athlone Rally — Alliance Retired Public Servants

Retired Public Servants will assemble at the Sheraton Hotel ATHLONE at 7.30 pm on Monday 2nd March for a mass rally organised by the Alliance of Retired Public Servants.  Following on from well supported Regional Meetings at Limerick (Oct) and Wexford (Jan.) all those crossing Custume-Bridge on the River Shannon will be well aware that the focus right now is — Restoration of Public Service Pensions.

MASS RALLY FOR RESTORATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE PENSIONS

Alliance of Retired Public Servants Regional Rally

7.30 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.”

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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

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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

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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.

P.S.

The above text is courtesy of Paddy Healy’s Blob.

Paddy Healy is Former President TUI; Chair of Dublin Branch Retired Teachers’ Association TUI; Member of the National Mangement Committee.

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One Response to Athlone Rally — Alliance Retired Public Servants

  1. Arthur O March 2, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Parking is charged for at the Shearton Athlone Hotel, unless you are a paying guest.

    Free Parking is available five minutes walk from the Shearton Athlone Hotel in the Golden Island Athlone Shopping Centre Car Park.

    https://sites.google.com/site/gsrmakildarenorthbranch/news/alliance-of-retired-public-servants/athlone-rally-alliance-retired-public-servants-mon-2-march-2015-730pm-shearton-hotel

    Drive to the Golden Island Athlone Shopping Centre Car Park using Waze

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