Dáil Éireann - Volume 407 - 30 April, 1991

Written Answers. - Pension Entitlement.

78. Mr. Tunney asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a small number of former Members of Dáil Éireann who would qualify for a much needed pension if the number of qualifying years was reduced from eight to five; and if he will give sympathetic consideration to their plight.

Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds): I understand that this question refers to Members of the Oireachtas who had between five and eight years' service and who ceased to hold office before 1 September 1983. Under the terms of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Members) Pension Scheme, such members may opt for (a) a refund of the contributions paid by them under the scheme, or (b) spouses' and children's pension entitlements, based on 8 year's service.

In the case of Members with between five and eight years' service who leave office on or after 1 September 1983, the scheme provides for an additional benefit, viz preserved pension at the rate of 1/40th of salary per year of service, which is payable from age 60, or earlier in cases of permanent incapacity.

I regret that it would not be possible for me to approve an amendment of the scheme so as to extend the preserved pension benefit to the former Members referred to by the Deputy. Such an amendment would give rise to repercussive claims on behalf of public servants who left office before the introduction of preserved benefits throughout the public service generally, resulting in very substantial extra costs for the Exchequer.