Dáil Questions: Transport/IASS Pension Scheme

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Dáil Issues, Oral Questions, Transport Tourism and Sport

Minister Donohoe let off the hook when unfortunately Clare’s oral questions were not selected for discussion. Critical issues regarding the responsibility of the state to alleviate the hardship of deferred and existing members of the IASS Pension Scheme and worker and indeed passenger safety in relation to appalling conditions in International Aviation were tabled. We will do what we can to keep the pressure on…

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 1186 of 9 June 2015, if consideration was given at any stage of the process, to a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of the State’s share holding in Aer Lingus being used to alleviate the hardship being faced by Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme deferred and current pensioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 17th June, 2015

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Paschal Donohoe

​As I said in my reply to the Deputy on the 9th June in relation to this issue, an agreed solution was implemented at the start of this year to address the funding difficulties in the Irish Airlines (General Employees) Superannuation Scheme (IASS). This agreed solution is a matter for the Trustee, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme members and the Pensions Authority.

Any proceeds from the sale of the State’s minority shareholding in Aer Lingus will be paid into the Exchequer and the Government has indicated that such proceeds should be used to establish a new ‘Connectivity fund’, as a sub-portfolio of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

Under Eurostat rules, the proceeds arising from the sale of the State’s shares in Aer Lingus, representing a sale of a financial asset, will have no beneficial impact on Ireland’s General Government Balance (GGB). Accordingly, the money received will not provide any capacity for additional Government expenditure on a GGB neutral basis. ​

It was for this reason that the Government has decided to allocate the proceeds to a special fund, which will operate on a commercial basis and therefore not constitute Government expenditure, but will facilitate the re-use of the proceeds for productive purposes within the economy, on a GGB neutral basis. For this reason, the monies generated by the sale cannot be used for the reasons proposed by the Deputy.​​

Dáil Question
No: 42

To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 1002 of 26 May 2015 and in view of his awareness of the University of Ghent report on atypical employment in aviation and its potential impact on safety as indicated in his reply, if his Department or the Irish Aviation Authority made any specific contact with the airlines, or undertook any specific action.

– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 17th June, 2015.

Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe

My response to the Deputy’s earlier questions on this report pointed out that it was produced under the European Social Dialogue Committee by social policy experts.

Aviation safety matters are most approriately addressed within the EU’s extensive aviation safety regime. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has competence for all areas of aviation safety in the EU and is best placed to give an expert view on any potential safety impacts of various working arrangements.

In September 2014 last year EASA announced a new organisation structure, which aims at preparing the Agency for the challenges of the coming years. In doing so EASA pointed out that the aviation sector is constantly evolving with innovative business models and new technologies in order to achieve greater efficiencies. Earlier this year EASA established a working group to examine Developing Business Models in Aviation. The Irish Aviation Authority participates in the working group and its work is ongoing.