As Christy Conville indicated in the last issue of TUI News, he stepped down as Secretary of the RMA at the end of January. It is my privilege to replace him, having been nominated and voted in, at the February Meeting of the RMA’s Management Committee. Christy continues in his role as Secretary of the Alliance of Public Servants and is also continuing to organise RMA Breaks. I would like to thank him for his many years of service as Secretary of our Association on my own behalf and on behalf of the Management Committee.
The 2015 Spring break was in Westport towards the end of March. We were treated royally in Hotel Westport, and it was great to see old friends and some new participants there. The tour on Wednesday took the group to Lissadell House – the Co Sligo home of the Gore-Booths. This was a truly interesting visit. The house opened specially for our tour and lunch was included. Thursday’s tour took the group to nearby Westport House, which again proved very rewarding.
Since last October, the Alliance of Public Servants has been organising Regional meetings, in order to inform members of the issues and to lay the foundations for a lobbying campaign. So far, meetings have taken place in Limerick, Enniscorthy, Athlone, Cork, and Galway. All these meetings have been very well attended by members of the constituent organisations, and we would urge RMA members to support further meetings as they happen.
The RMA was represented at the TUI Congress in Wexford by the Chairperson Jim McCarthy and myself. We were particularly pleased with the participation and attention of the delegates to the Section on Pensions, on Tuesday afternoon, as several speakers addressed the important issue of pension restoration, and the necessity to treat retirees uniformly – anomalies have arisen in pension provision because of differing schemes operating from different dates.
TUI President Gerry Quinn in introducing Jim McCarthy’s address announced the approval by the TUI Executive of observer status at its meetings for a representative of the RMA. Representation will be confined to areas of interest or concern to the RMA. On behalf of the Management Committee, I want to thank the President and the General Secretary the facilitating this arrangement.
In Jim McCarthy’s address to the Conference he adverted to the unequal treatment of retired public servants in the way USC is deducted from pensions when compared to the private sector. He called for the continued support of the TUI for the Alliance of retired Public Servants in its campaign to restore our pensions and eliminate the USC inequity. He also referred to a resolution passed at a previous TUI Conference which if implemented would amount to discrimination against RMA members on the grounds of age. The resolution sought to ban retired teachers from participating in Examination supervision and/or correction, and failed to recognise that many retired teachers need such work because of early retirement on health grounds or diminished pension entitlements because of short service. The issue has been the subject of correspondence between the RMA and the TUI General Secretary.
The RMA continues to grow and develop – there are now fifteen RMA branches. The Louth branch and the South East branch are the most recently formed. The South East branch serves members in counties Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and parts of Tipperary. The only counties not currently served by a branch are Wicklow, Laois, Cavan and Monaghan.
This year our AGM is again in the Kilmurry Lodge in Limerick. We would urge as many members as possible to attend and a very attractive package has been negotiated with the hotel which includes the option of an extra night. The AGM is on Wednesday May 27th at 10.00 am. The booking form is available on the website. Branches and members wishing to submit motions must do so before April 27th.