Dáil Éireann - Volume 621 - 14 June, 2006

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the circumstances in which co-ordinated pensions apply in relation to the pension schemes of State sponsored bodies; the rules governing portability of pensions between State sponsored bodies and public service bodies such as the armed services and State sponsored bodies; and if he plans to relax any of these rules. [22942/06]

  Mr. Cowen: While pension scheme terms for State bodies are a matter for the State bodies, subject to the approval of the Minister and the consent of the Minister for Finance, the general policy is that co-ordination applies in the case of public servants who are fully covered for Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI). [1274] As a result of a Government decision that all public servants appointed on or after 6 April 1995 should be in full PRSI class, co-ordinated pensions apply to those public servants.

Portability of pensions between State sponsored bodies and public service bodies, including the armed forces, is provided for under arrangements known as the Public Sector Transfer Network. Persons who move from one member organisation to another may transfer their pensionable service to their new employment for superannuation purposes, subject to certain conditions. Membership of the Transfer Network is voluntary and organisations opting to join are designated by the Minister for Finance under Section 4(1) of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963.

The provisions of the scheme are quite lengthy and the following is a brief summary:

The scheme provides that a person employed in a member organisation who had earlier service in another member organisation may transfer that earlier service to their current employment for superannuation purposes. At the request of the individual, the current employer arranges the transfer of the service with the previous employer. There are certain conditions which must be met before the transfer is allowed. Among these are:

• the service in question must have been pensionable service at the time it was given or, if not pensionable at that time, could subsequently be made pensionable;

• any refund of contributions or other superannuation lump sum payment given in respect of the service must be repaid with compound interest;

• all of the service in the earlier organisation must be transferred;

• a transfer is not allowed where it would involve dual credit for the period in question;

• transfer is precluded if a pension has already been paid in respect of the service. (Note: this point is particularly relevant in the case of personnel who retire from the Defence Forces and who subsequently take up employment with a Network organisation.)

I am satisfied that the Public Service Transfer Network operates to the benefit of employees of those public sector bodies which are members of the Network. I have no plans to amend the rules under which the Network operates.