Question to the Minister for Public Expenditure (Mr. Brendan Howlin, TD)

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will allow a period of time for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, who are working or who have worked in the Civil Service and who have entered civil partnerships or who will marry, to change their single person pension to a spouse and children pension, on payment of equitable contributions, in view of the fact that such a change would recognise that civil partnerships and marriage were not previously available to these persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 18, June, 2015.

REPLY

Civil Service Superannuation Scheme rules provide that since 1 September 1984 all new entrant civil servants are compulsorily members of the Spouses and Children’s Superannuation Scheme. The issue to which the Deputy refers is specific to those civil servants who were serving in August 1984 and who exercised their option not to join the Revised Spouses’ and Children’s Superannuation Scheme.

In 2013 officials of my Department were asked to give consideration to the implications of a decision to permit those current and former civil servants who were serving in August 1984 and are now in civil partnerships a further option of opting into the Revised Scheme, if they chose not to in 1984.  I am advised that, given the background of changing legislation over the years, including the introduction of divorce, and to avoid a charge of discrimination, this option could not of course be limited solely to those entering civil partnerships.  It would therefore have to be made available to all relevant serving and former civil servants (and public servants in a similar position). In the circumstances I am advised that allowing for this option could likely accrue a substantial additional cost to the existing accrued liability of public service pensions.

As a consequence I do not intend to bring forward proposals to facilitate serving and former civil servants (appointed prior to 1 September 1984) and who exercised the option in 1984 not to join the Revised Spouses’ and Children’s Superannuation Scheme to revisit that option.