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'Transition teams' set up to manage public sector's pension exodus

Enda Kenny says high-level special units have been established to make sure that retirements next month do not hit services.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT has set up a series of high-level ‘transition teams’ to manage the retirement of almost three per cent of the public workforce in the coming weeks.

Around 8,000 staff from the public sector are to leave their roles in the coming four weeks, taking advantage of an icentivised pensions scheme where workers will receive pensions based on their peak salaries and not their current ones.

The scheme, originally put in place by the previous government, has been criticised by some opposition parties who fear it will have a major impact in the delivery of public services.

Yesterday, however, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a series of high-level units had been set up in various government departments to see how the public services could accommodate the retirements with the least disruption to public services.

The units would work with Departments, Ministers and local managers “to ensure that smooth transition” to the new staffing arrangements, he told RTÉ News.

The main units would operate in the health, education and justice sectors, which are most likely to be hit by reduced staffing: it is thought that around half of the staff stepping down at the end of the month come from the health services and schools, while Garda numbers will also be hit.

Asked why the ‘transition teams’ had not been appointed earlier, Kenny said the government wanted to examine precisely how many staff planned to retire before putting teams in place.

Joan Burton later said the Fine Gael-Labour coalition would “not necessarily” have designed the retirement scheme the way it now existed, saying some of its inherent difficulties were inherited from the Fianna Fáil-Green Party government.

The presence of the Croke Park deal had “kept an enhanced form of social partnership discussion” without disruptions through strikes or other industrial action, she told The Week in Politics programme.

In response, Sinn Féin’s social protection spokesman said the new government had had nearly a year to amend the retirement scheme, and had not taken that opportunity.

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Taoiseach: public sector retirements will not affect frontline services

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Gavan Reilly

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