Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
304. Dr. Twomey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason nurses affected by the abatement of pensions for employed pensioners have not received repayment of deducted pensions during the period 1 May 2005 to 20 October 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3147/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The Pensions (Abatement) Act 1965 provides the legislative basis for the suspension or reduction of an allowance or pension where, after retirement, a scheme pensioner is employed in an agency or organisation in which the superannuation scheme paying the pension applies. Remuneration plus pension for the specified period should not exceed the up-rated remuneration for the post from which the pensioner retired.
The calculation of pension abatement in the health sector was raised with me in the context of the lack of nursing graduates from the Irish education system in 2005. This gap arises because the three year diploma programme ended in 2004 and the first graduates of the four year degree programme will graduate this year, 2006. I requested that my Department review this matter and a revised circular 21/2005 was issued in October 2005. The new arrangements mean that, in effect, pensioners working in agencies or organisations covered by the scheme from which their pensions are paid, can earn up to 50% of the uprated remuneration of the former post, before abatement applies. These changes were introduced in response to a particular set of circumstances and the effective date of the revised arrangements is 20 October 2005.
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