To ask the Minister for Social Protection the consideration he has given to a review of the provisions of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013, including single insolvencies and their effects on pensioners
– Clare Daly.
* For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016.
R E P L Y
In Ireland, occupational pension schemes are generally set up under trust and are maintained by the employer on a voluntary basis. The trust deeds and rules of a scheme differ from scheme to scheme, and as with any contractual situation, reflect the level of obligation of the parties involved. While the Pensions Act provides a framework for the regulation and supervision of occupational pension schemes, it does not impose any requirement on an employer to fund scheme benefits or maintain an existing scheme.
The Social Welfare and Pensions (No.2) Act 2013 provided for a fairer and more equitable distribution of scheme assets in the event of the wind up of an underfunded scheme. It also facilitated a greater sharing of the risk between all the beneficiaries when a scheme is underfunded, while still providing for priority protection of pension benefits. Prior to the introduction of this Act, pensioner benefits were given priority over the benefits of active and deferred scheme members which meant a situation could arise whereby pensioners received all or almost all of the pension fund and members who had contributed but not retired received considerably less than expected.
Filmmaker Ken Loach is well known for his social realism; his highly acclaimed career has brought us many film classics that portray many aspects of working class life. Films like Kes, Raining Stones, Riff Raff, Looking for Eric, to name a few, were gritty, realistic, funny and sympathetic stories about the ‘ordinary folk’ of northern England.
Many Irish people will be aware of Loach’s two ‘Irish’ films: the powerful interpretation of the Irish War of Independence, the award winning, The Wind That Shakes The Barley and 2014’s brilliant Jimmy’s Hall the true story of the persecution and eventual deportation of Irish socialist Jimmy Gralton.
Loach’s latest film, I Daniel Blake was the recipient of the much-coveted Palme d’Or award at the Cannes film festival earlier this year. This was Loach’s second time to receive that award having won in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Whether Loach puts any stock in awards is neither here nor there, what is undeniable is his talent as a filmmaker and I Daniel Blake is outstanding.