Dáil Éireann - Volume 576 - 10 December, 2003

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

  65. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the changes he plans to introduce in regard to public service pensions; if there have been consultations with the public service unions regarding these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30087/03]

  Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy):I refer the Deputy to my Budget Statement to the House on 3 December 2003 and summary of budget measures, in which I outlined the Government's decision to implement the bulk of the Commission on Public Service Pensions recommendations.

  The commission, which was established in 1996 to examine and report on all aspects of public service pensions, included union representatives among its members. Since publication of the commision's report in January 2001, there have been extensive discussions with the unions on this whole issue. In September 2001, the Government accepted the thrust of the commission's recommendations and established, as provided for in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, the PPF, a working group to advise on implementation. The working group comprised representatives of the public service unions and relevant Government Departments and reported recently. Parallel working groups with the same remit as the main working group were also set up in the case of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. Several additional meetings were held with individual unions and associations to discuss specific commission recommendations.

  I would also point out that it is intended that the public service unions will be fully informed about implementation of the reforms in advance of their introduction on 1 April 2004.