To ask the Minister for Health when a gratuity payment due to certain home help workers will be made in lieu of pension payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Deputy is referring to Home Help workers who are employed by voluntary providers of home help services which are funded under section 39 of the Health Act 2004.
I advised the Deputy previously that as these home help workers are not employed by the HSE, the HSE and the Department have no role in determining the salaries or other terms and conditions applying to these staff including any pension arrangements.
In addition, the Deputy is aware that a joint working group was established, as agreed as part of the 2015 Lansdowne Road talks, to consider a number of issues in relation to section 39 organisations. Unfortunately it was not possible to reach an agreement between the parties on the issue of gratuity payments.
To ask the Minister for Finance the way in which his Department has used the moneys the State received from the sale of its stake in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Connectivity Fund was established as a sub-fund of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) in 2015 to invest the €335 million proceeds from the sale of the State's shareholding in Aer Lingus with the aim of enabling and enhancing Ireland's physical, virtual and energy connectivity.
The NTMA have advised me that in 2017, the ISIF entered into two new investment commitments from this sub-fund (Port of Cork and Shannon Airport) and increased their investment commitment to Aqua Comms, bringing total investment commitments from the Connectivity Fund to €93 million:
To the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection
To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to establish an independent review group within her Department to assess the level and impact of cuts suffered by all categories of members in a pension scheme (details supplied) due to changes in legislation and in particular the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014 and subsequent reductions in members benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to consider in the preparation of budget 2019 specific measures targeted at members of a pension scheme (details supplied) to reduce the impact of cuts to their pension benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
the IASS Pension scheme
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 12th June, 2018.
R E P L Y
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Regina Doherty T.D.):
It is proposed to take Question Nos. 1242 & 1243 together.
The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot intervene in the pension arrangements applying to a particular pension scheme or introduce any measures which would benefit the members of a particular pension scheme to the exclusion of members of similar pension schemes.
While I am very conscious that any reduction in benefits can have a significant impact on scheme members, any such consideration is a matter for the pension scheme trustee, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme members and the Pensions Authority.
As the Deputy is aware the scheme in question is now the subject of legal proceedings. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on the matter.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme
To ask the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the substantial cuts imposed on members of a pension scheme (details supplied) in advance of the sale of the State's stake in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) the IASS Pension scheme
The Irish Airlines (General Employees) Superannuation Scheme (IASS) is currently the subject of on-going legal proceedings by retired members of daa, Shannon Airport Authority, Aer Lingus and the former SR Technics. Those proceedings began in July 2015.
As this matter is sub judice I am unable to comment any further on the issue.
To ask the Minister for Culture; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the estimated cost per annum of the town centre health check programme; the number of checks undertaken per annum since its inception; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
A pilot Town Centre Health Check training programme was developed in late 2016 by the Heritage Council working in collaboration with universities and other bodies. The operation of the programme is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council.
I understand that seven towns have participated to date and funding of €15k has been allocated. An evaluation of the pilot programme is underway and a full report is expected to be published this year.
It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources, however my Department will continue to work closely with the Heritage Council to ensure continued investment is appropriately targeted within the heritage area.
Further information on the programme is available from the Heritage Council and on their website www.heritagecouncil.ie
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