To ask the Minister for Transport the action he intends to take to address the grievance of the Retired Aviation Staff Association in view of his correspondence to them (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Denis Naughten.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 13th February, 2003.
(Letter from Minister Brennan (Chief Whip) to Pat Mc Nulty, Chairman Pension , Action Committee, Retired Aviation Staff Association on 2 May 2002)
Ref No: 4172/03
Answered by Minister for Transport
As the Deputy will be aware, the Retired Aviation Staff Association (RASA) have been seeking enhanced pensions for pensioners of the Irish Airlines (General Employees) Superannuation Scheme. Essentially, RASA is seeking to bridge the difference between the annual consumer price index related increases awarded by the Trustees of the scheme to the pensioners and salary movements.
Pension entitlements for employees of commercial State bodies, including Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta, are matters primarily for the Trustees, the members of the relevant scheme and the company involved.
I understand that both companies have been meeting all of their liabilities towards the pension fund in accordance with the rules of the scheme. Moreover, I have been advised that neither Aer Lingus nor Aer Rianta is in a position to provide additional payments into the pension fund to meet the claim by the retirees association.
In response to representations, the case made by the Retired Aviation Staff Association was forwarded in July 2001 by my predecessor Mary ORourke, for consideration to the Minister for Finance who has overall responsibility for pension matters in the public sector. The contents of his reply were communicated to the retirees Association in October 2001.
In summary, the Minister for Finance advised that it would not be appropriate to accede to the request from the Association for an injection into the pension fund and that there must be continued adherence to the long standing policy in this area i.e. that pension entitlements for employees of commercial State Bodies which includes Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta are matters primarily for the Trustees, the members of the relevant scheme and the companies involved.
There has been no obvious solution to this matter despite detailed examination over the last number of years. Nevertheless, I have asked Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta to keep the situation under review.