Meeting with Sinn Fein (David Cullinane)
They do not see restoration of all pensions as a priority. They are only interested in people with low and medium incomes. However, they are opposed to the use of emergency legislation to control pay and pensions.
Meeting with Fianna Fail (Dara Colleary)
Their pre-election and post-election positions are consistent – they favour full restoration of pensions within 2 years. They are, of course, still not in government.
Meeting with Labour (Brendan Howlin and Sean Sherlock)
They favour full restoration of pensions by the end of 2018.
Meeting with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donoghue
Our representatives were very critical of the Fine Gael position of full restoration by 2021, pointing out that they are the only party with that position. There are many pensioners who will not live to see full restoration in that scenario.
They objected to FEMPI currently being used as a fiscal weapon, not because of an emergency.
They pointed out that the overall cost of restoration was 45 million euro, a very small percentage of expenditure
They looked for restoration now rather than later. They pointed out the anomalies caused by FEMPI.
The Minister indicated that he and his officials would be available to meet Alliance representatives on a regular basis for discussions, continuing the arrangements initiated by his predecessor. He also agreed to the Alliance being represented at the talks next year on pay between unions and government.
He referred to the fact that we would benefit from the USC reductions in the forthcoming budget.
The officers will set up further meetings with non-government parties now that the meeting with the Minister has taken place. Lobbying at local level by retired public servants before the Budget and/or the Finance Bill would be very helpful in this regard.