Speaking in the Dáil today, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on public sector reform Seán Fleming said that there was “no option but to vote against the harsh pension levy” and called on the Finance Minister to clarify a number of issues in the Finance (No. 2) Bill 2011.
Pointing out that, under this new legislation a total of four levy payments would be due between July 25th 2011 and Sept. 25th 2012, Deputy Fleming asked: “Why is that 24 months worth of payments will be due over a 14 month period? This will cause a cause a significant shock to the industry and pension holders.”
Deputy Fleming also called for clarification on the exemption of the levy for staff whose “employment is or was wholly outside the State”.
Warning that this provision could cause “phenomenal practical and implementation problems”, he called on the Minister to explain how the exemption would apply to people who have worked intermittently abroad.
Deputy Fleming also questioned how this provision would apply to companies whose workforce is located both here and outside Ireland. Would the staff based in branches in other countries be exempted from the levy while the staff based in Ireland would not?
Finally, Deputy Fleming asked the Minister for Finance how he could justify the fact that Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) into which mostly wealthy people have moved their pension funds on retirement for tax efficiency and estate planning have been exempted. Pointing out that former Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton would benefit from such an exemption, Deputy Fleming described the move as “abhorrent and immoral”.