Belfast Telegraph

Fears for public service pensions

Former civil servants have criticised what they claim are targeted attacks on public service pensioners.

The Retired Civil and Public Servants' Association (RCPSA) warned many members are anxious about their future, adding their expectations of a secure retirement have been overturned since the recession.

The association represents 11,000 retired public servants, mainly from the civil service, An Post and Eircom. It claimed the false image of public service pensioners generally as especially privileged and well off is repeatedly propagated.

"Every time a Secretary General of a Government Department retires, his or her pension, lump sum and bonus are presented as if they were representative of public service pensions generally," it said in a statement.

"Apart from being a populist and one-sided presentation in relation to Secretaries General, what usually receives little or no publicity are the facts that the average pension paid to civil servants is 19,000 euro per annum (2011)."

Elsewhere the association maintained only a fraction of 1% of civil service pensioners receive pensions over 100,000 euro per annum. Pensions have not increased in four years, but have instead been reduced by a "public interest" law since January, 2011, it added.

The RCPSA said current civil service pensioners, who have spent their entire working life in the service of the community, do not qualify for the old age state pension.

"There is, in truth, a world of difference between the 'fat cat' image presented and the modest reality of civil service pensions on the ground," it added.

The association revealed a recent AGM highlighted a anxiety among pensioners in relation to what has happened to them, to their families, to the community, to their country, and what lies ahead.

Bank debt, the collapse in domestic property values and investments, reductions in pensions and cuts in medical card entitlements and cost refunds have put pressure on households, while at the same time new household charges were introduced and fuel and health insurance hiked up.

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