Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 07 December, 2005

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

  167. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the sections of the EU pensions directive that were transposed into Irish legislation in September 2005; if he will report on the sections that have not been transposed and the reason these sections were omitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38263/05]

  168. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he will report on the provisions of Article 14 of the EU pensions directive stating this article was transposed into Irish legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38264/05]

  Mr. Brennan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 168 together.

The EC Council Directive 2003/41/EC on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision, IORPs, is generally referred to as the IORPs directive or the pensions directive. The directive sets out a framework for the operation and supervision of occupational pension schemes in all member states and will facilitate pan-European pension plans.

Much of the framework required by the directive already existed in the Pensions Act 1990 and only a small number of amendments were required to ensure compliance. The amendments to the Pensions Act were carried in Part 3 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2005 and in consequential regulations which I signed into law on the 23 September 2005, the deadline for transposing the directive. My Department notified the European Commission that we had implemented the requirements of the directive by the required deadline.

The approach taken to transposition was to examine the existing provisions of Irish pensions law and to make changes only where required. Article 14 of the directive requires competent authorities to ensure that appropriate management and governance procedures are in place. It ensures that the competent authorities are sufficiently equipped with powers of intervention to perform their responsibilities properly and safeguard the interests of members and benefici[1669] aries of the pension scheme. In Ireland, the competent authority is the Pensions Board.

As regards the transposition of Article 14, the existing provisions of pensions law in Ireland were considered sufficient compliance. For example, there are many requirements placed on trustees by trust law generally and by the Pensions Act. In addition, the Pensions Board has wide powers of investigation. The board also has powers as regards the appointment and removal of trustees and powers of intervention which are exercisable through the courts.