Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Financial Sector Reform Michael McGrath TD has called on the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD to publish in full the impact assessment of the levy on private pension funds proposed by the Government and all advices received by the Government regarding the levy in advance of the debate on the Finance Bill this week.

Deputy McGrath said: “It is now clear that there is genuine concern and unease about this levy and its impact on people and the economy in the years ahead.  In its Staff Report yesterday the IMF said: “Staff had reservations about the quality of this measure, including potential behavioural responses.” 

“In light of this significant development the Government should immediately move to publish an impact assessment of the private pension fund levy in advance of the debate on the Finance Bill which is due to begin on Tuesday.  The Government has so far failed to produce any documentation in relation to the advice it received before announcing this raid on private pension funds.  It is also crucial that the Government clearly state whether the advice of the Pensions Board was sought before the measure was announced and if not, why not.

“The Minister’s refusal to meet the representatives of the private pension funds industry before the measure was announced and implemented in very concerning.  If the IMF expressed “reservations” to the Minister and his department, how could they possibly allay those concerns without input from the industry on its impact.  Michael Noonan should immediately publish all correspondence and documentation on this issue with the officials from the Troika and the impact assessment of the Department of Finance.”

Deputy McGrath concluded: “It is also quite revealing in the IMF Staff Report that this Government has abandoned all election promises of the renegotiation of the agreement.  The IMF clearly states: “The new government has taken full ownership of the goals and key elements of the European Union/IMF supported program.”  This firmly nails the myth that this Government ever intended to renegotiate the assistance package.  It is now clear for the Irish people to see that both Fine Gael and Labour, having denounced the programme for its mere existence, are now not only implementing it but own it.  That’s a far cry from ‘Frankfurt’s way or Labour way’.  The Taoiseach and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore should be open and upfront with the people about this.  After all they have pledged to lead the most open and transparent Government in the country.”