New Irish government pledges action on pension reform

first_imgThe draft programme, leaked to national media outlets last week, categorised pensions as one of several “long-term challenges” facing the country the administration should seek to address.The programme said the Irish political system remained “too focused on the short term” and failed to accommodate long-term thinking on policy areas including housing, long-term funding of health and education, and pension policy.It is possible further detail of any pension reform could be contained in ministerial strategy statements, which the programme pledges each department will draft, consulting on its contents with stakeholders and fellow lawmakers.Despite Fine Gael’s reliance on a grouping of independent parliamentarians to form a minority government, discussions on the rollout of a universal second-pillar pension system may still succeed.The main opposition party, Fianna Fáil, has agreed to support Kenny’s administration on budget matters, and both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael pledged to introduce an auto-enrolment-based supplementary pension system in their manifestos ahead of February’s inconclusive election.Preliminary work on the reform began more than a year ago, when the previous government launched the Universal Retirement Savings Group (URSG) to advise on the design of a new occupational pension system.The Irish Pensions Authority has separately pledged to publish a document on pension reform by the summer, outlining how the sector could be regulated in future. Housing and sovereign wealthThe draft programme for government also said the country’s sovereign development fund, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), would be one of the partners in a new scheme to boost private sector housing construction, working alongside the European Investment Bank and the Central Bank of Ireland to draft the new ‘Help to Build’ programme within the government’s first year.It added: “We will support the Irish Strategic Investment Fund [sic] to encourage the delivery of housing-related enabling infrastructure in large-scale priority development areas.”The ISIF has already backed a €500m residential housing venture with KKR, which it hopes will see the development of more than 11,000 new homes. Ireland’s new government has pledged to continue work on a universal second-pillar pension system despite the Fine Gael-led administration’s lack of a majority in Parliament.Enda Kenny, who won support last week for a second term as Taoiseach, or prime minister, following an inconclusive general election in February, has named Leo Varadkar minister for social protection, succeeding Joan Burton after five years in the role.Varadkar, a former transport and health minister, told public broadcaster RTÉ on 7 May the introduction of a universal pension system would be one of his priorities while at the Department of Social Protection.The pledge comes despite the briefest of mentions of pension reform in a draft government programme, outlining the legislative programme of the Fine Gael-led minority government.last_img read more

Pearson dreams of an easy life

first_img Pearson recalls the pressure on boss Robson during the survival battle and admitted it was difficult to watch. “I remember when we played Manchester United in the penultimate game of the season,” he said. “The early results had put us under pressure, we needed something at Manchester United. We got a 1-1 draw. It was a tough day but we managed to get into the last day with a mathematical chance. “Those sort of pressures, when you watch someone you know well having to endure them, it’s quite hard, it’s tough. “Bryan was the manager, he takes more pressure than the assistant. It was interesting for me to see it from a different perspective. “It will be interesting for me to observe myself I’m sure. I’m not sure what I’d make of myself. “You need balance and as a manager you need somebody who at least has an understanding of the personality. I’m very lucky to have members of staff who manage to manage me.” Pearson will be without attacking midfielder Matty James, who could be out until next year after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage. Striker David Nugent (calf) is also sidelined but midfielder Andy King will return to the squad following a hamstring injury. The Foxes will survive at Sunderland on Saturday and complete a remarkable survival mission if Hull fail to match their result at Tottenham. Friday marked 10 years since Pearson was involved in the first Houdini act when West Brom became the first team to beat the drop in the Premier League after being bottom at Christmas. Press Association He was assistant to Bryan Robson at The Hawthorns as the Baggies survived on the final day with a 2-0 win over Portsmouth. Sunderland themselves achieved it last season and with Leicester on the brink of repeating it Pearson wants to seal survival without any late slip-ups. “It’s the worst pressure ever when you need to win games and also hoping things go your way elsewhere,” he said. “That is not nice. So one of the things we have been working very hard to do is hoping it stays in our own hands. “To do that you have to get enough good results but we have managed to do that. We will be doing everything we can to make sure it’s the right result for ourselves.” The Foxes have won six of their last seven games in a stunning run of form to climb off the bottom of the table and rise to 15th. They are three points above third-bottom Hull with a better goal difference and are set to emulate West Brom’s achievement. The Baggies stayed up on ‘Survival Sunday’, sending Southampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace down despite starting the day bottom. Nigel Pearson wants to avoid the “worst pressure ever” as Leicester close in on their own Great Escape. last_img read more