Parliamentary Question: Public Sector Pensions

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.

 

Posted under Parliamentary Questions, Public Expenditure & Reform, Social

Parliamentary Question: Health Care Professionals

Question to the Minister for Health (Dr. Leo Varadkar, TD)

To ask the Minister for Health if he will consider providing for play therapists to be regulated by CORU – Health and Social Care Professionals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 10, June, 2015.

REPLY

The Health and Social Care Professionals Council and the registration boards being established under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 are responsible for protecting the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence amongst the 14 professions designated under the Act.

Play therapists are not currently regulated under the 2005 Act. The Minister for Health may, however, under section 4(2) of the Act, designate a health and social care profession not already designated if he or she considers it in the public interest to do so and if specific criteria have been met.

The Act is being implemented on a phased basis as registration boards and their registers are being established. A total of 8 registration boards have been established to date and my immediate priority is the establishment of the registration boards for all of the remaining designated professions by the end of 2016.

When all of the registration boards and their registers have been established, the Health and Social Care Professionals Council will be requested by my Department to prepare a risk assessment, in terms of public protection, of the health and social care professions seeking designation under the Act, and to make recommendations concerning options for their possible future regulation.

Posted under Health, Parliamentary Questions, Social

Parliamentary Question: Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration

Question to the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. Alan Kelly, TD)

To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government when he will introduce regulations to provide for a new tenant purchase scheme; when a new scheme will become operative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 10, June, 2015.

REPLY

Part 3 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 provides for a new scheme for the tenant purchase of existing local authority houses along incremental purchase lines. The Government’s Social Housing Strategy 2020includes a commitment to make the Regulations necessary for its introduction, in the second quarter of 2015, which will set out the full details of the new scheme. It is expected that the new scheme will commence at the earliest possible date following the making of the Regulations which are at an advanced stage of drafting.

Posted under Environment, Parliamentary Questions, Social, Social Protection