Closure of defined benefit pension schemes by large solvent companies a major concern – Rock
INM decision to close its scheme very worrying
Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, has expressed serious concern at the closure of defined benefit pension schemes, by large solvent companies. Deputy Rock made the comments following the decision by Independent News and Media to close its scheme.

“Concerns have recently been raised with me by a number of people about the condition of defined benefit schemes and their closure by some companies, including INM, where staff now face having their pensions reduced by as much as 50% immediately.
“We need to urgently review our legislation around pension rules, to ensure that firms which are solvent cannot close an existing pension scheme, which is backed up by a Pensions Protection Fund, emulating the current approach in the UK.

“I know that the Minister for Social Protection met recently with the chairperson of the Pension’s Authority and has asked the authority to report back to him with an assessment of the current overall position in relation to Defined Benefit schemes.

“In my view a company should only be able to shut down its pension scheme in exceptional circumstances, and not at a time when it is simultaneously paying out dividends. This has got to end.

“I am determined to stand up for decent people who are scared and don’t understand why shareholders make money out of a company, while at the same time their lives have been turned upside down. The rules governing pensions for solvent firms need to change urgently, and I will work to bring about this change.

“I will continue to pursue this issue and raise it at the highest levels of Government. I am also urging management at INM to reconsider their decision to wind up the pension scheme, a move which will hurt hundreds of families all over Ireland. This is an extraordinary situation and I cannot see any material justification for this course of action, given the fact that INM is a profitable company. It’s wrong and ultimately actions such as this will affect all of us.”