I enclose the Written Reply and our response. There are two errors in the Reply.
I do not have primary Ministerial responsibility for any of the Commercial Semi State Bodies (CSSBs). It is usually a matter for the Government Department under whose aegis responsibility for individual CSSBs falls to consider and propose, as appropriate, any changes to pension scheme rules together with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is responsible for the governance of RTÉ and for ensuring that RTÉ is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies including in relation to pension scheme issues.
My Department will consider the issue when a completed set of business case and technical assessment documents are submitted, in line with the requirements of Circular 16/2021 (Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies – Amendments to the Annex on Remuneration and Superannuation).
The overall maturity of pension schemes and the impact of pension increases on the long term sustainability of pension funds are important overall considerations in such cases.
There are two errors in the Ministerial response;
1 The Minister wrongly implies that the granting of the increase is not solely his responsibility.
“Regulation 85 specifies that “a pension may be increased by such amount as may be authorised from time to time by the Minister for Finance”
Since Finance was split into two departments the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has assumed the role and approved all subsequent changes to the RTE pension scheme
The letter to the Minister for Arts on the 7th of December 2020 stated as follows;
“Applications for the approval of discretionary pension increases by the RTÉSA are made to the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media in the first instance. Thereafter RTESA Statutory Instrument Regulation Number 85 confers both the power and responsibility to decide on the granting of increases to pensions-in-payment solely on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
Accordingly, having carefully considered the matter and having received extensive and relevant independent professional actuarial, financial and investment advice, the trustees of the RTÉ superannuation scheme are seeking approval from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to grant a once off, 2% increase in pension is in payment to members of the RTÉ Superannuation Scheme with effect from the 1st of January 2021”
The letter included detailed financial and actuarial assessments of the scheme’s ability to pay the increase.
2 The reference to the Government Circular postdates the date of the application by 6 months. The matter has been with Government for 15 months!