Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 30 September, 2003

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

  338. Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered proposals from the Garda Síochána Retired Members Association regarding equalisation of pension rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19598/03]

  Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I can confirm that I received proposals from the Garda Síochána Retired Members Association regarding the pensions of retired members of the Garda. The proposals in question relate to the pensionability of Garda allowances for those members who had retired before certain allowances were made pensionable. My colleague, Deputy McDowell, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, has primary responsibility for the Garda pension scheme and my Department has been liaising with his officials on the details of these proposals. However, I hope to be in a position to respond to the association in the near future.

  I am advised that the background to this matter is that a 1983 arbitration finding recommended that certain Garda allowances should be made pensionable with effect from 1 October 1982. The finding was applied only to personnel who retired on or after that date. The pensionability of the Garda unsocial hours allowance was treated in a similar way when it was introduced effective from 1994. The position was consistent with that in other areas of the public service where in the context of making allowances pensionable the bene[267] fits were confined to those retiring after a specified date and did not extend to pensioners who retired before that date.

  The Commission on Public Service Pensions as part of its deliberations examined the specific issue of the pensionability of allowances for those who had retired prior to the implementation date, in respect of members of the Garda Síochána and others but, having addressed the arguments involved, did not recommend any increase in pension for the groups involved.

  As the Deputy may be aware, the Government has decided to accept the thrust of the package of reforms recommended by the commission and is currently awaiting a report from the implementation working group in relation to the operational details.