Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
354. Mr. N. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason for the delay in having the Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2002, enacted as passed by Dáil Éireann during the term of the 1997-2002 Government; if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties arising from the delay in this enactment, that is, for ex-employees of IFI; and if the Act will be immediately enacted. [25136/02]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): The Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2002, was published in July 2001, introduced to the Seanad in October 2001, passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas in March and enacted in early April.
A significant number of regulations are required to bring sections of the Act into force. Much work has already been done in this regard particularly in relation to the introduction of personal retirement savings accounts which will be available early in 2003.
The provisions in relation to preservation which are of particular value to workers came into force in June. In addition, an advertisement was placed last week by the Civil Service Commission to recruit a pensions ombudsman.
There are many technical issues associated with the introduction of the remaining sections of the Act and associated regulations. They require extensive consultation with the Pensions Board, social partners and representatives of pension funds and the pensions industry. This work is proceeding as quickly as possible with a view to the commencement of the remaining sections as early as possible in 2003.
Overall, I am satisfied that everything possible is being done to bring the provisions of the Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2002 into force without delay. I am not aware of any particular difficulties being experienced by former employees of IFI in relation to aspects of the Act. If the Deputy can supply further details I will have these examined as a matter of urgency.
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