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June 10, 2013



Hi Michael,

Great to see you back.

How does the OAP fit into these calculations. I presume its included, but how then is anybody on a pension substantially less than 10k?

Michael Taft

6to5against - thanks for the welcome back. Most public sector workers are not eligible for OAP as they are on the modified pre-1995 rate. Those afterwards will be eligible for OAP but their will be an offset between their pensionable income and OAP. I have not come across data that breaks this down among current pensioners. Currently, public sector workers pay over 10 percent pension contribution (the regular contribution plus the pension levy) and the full PRSI rate.


OK, do I have this right then:

Amongst the current crop of retirees, a very large number are in recipt of a pension that is sometimes considerably less than the contrib OAP.

But these do receive a top-up to the levels of the OAP (which is quite correctly not included in these figures.

Or, putting it another way, about 30% of current PS pensioners effectively receive no pension beyond the OAP.

And, given the link with final salaries, would it be a fair suggestion
that something similar might well apply into the future?

Or do I have it totally confused?


No - public sector pensions are NOT topped up to the State Contributory or Non-Contributory rate. I am a volunteer for St Vincent De Paul and recently visted a house where a retired Dublin City Council employee and his wife were living on a combined pension of €12,000. They were burning rags as they could not afford other fuel.


Orla,well posted. The Government onslaught, allied with media'sections,against the public service,allied with those PS Unions capitulation will further impoverise people and lead to'curtailment and diminished public services. Thus leading to a situation where by if'you can afford to buy a service OK,if not tough,sure its the market!


Thanks Orla,

I'm a little shocked by that, and I thought I was beyond shock at this stage!

Honestly, Michael, sometimes I wonder about you.

In particular, your inability to see the wood from the trees when presented with some juicy data, that seemingly reinforces your politics.

Let me explain what's obviously going on here.

In order to be eligible for a public service pension of only €5,000, the pensioner must necessarily have only completed a small number of years service.

They either came to the public sector late in their career, or left early for the private sector, or gave up work to raise a family, or worked part-time. In most cases, they would also benefit from the state pension, and/or an additional occupational pension either in their own right or as a result of their spouse's career.

For these statistics to mean *anything* in terms of value to the state, they should be expressed as whole-time equivalents.

Similarly for these statistics to mean *anything* in terms of supposed poverty levels, they would have to include pension income from other sources.

Really, I'm surprised that the above wasn't as obvious as the nose on your face.

Only marginally less surprised that you're quoting cedarlounge as some kind reliable source of economic analysis. The level of statistical literacy over there is, to put it mildly, on the low side.

WorldbyStorm is, the CLR has never set itself up as experts in statistical literacy - ever.
Quite the opposite, if we’ve been open about a serious failing on our part and on the left generally it is that we’re not political economists. What we do though is examine political and economic issues as best we can.

I think it is entirely legitimate to contest the media perception as to 'average' PS pensions etc by drawing attention to figures gleaned by the SBP on foot of an FOI.

As regards your example of a €5k pension, well Michael had already outlined in his first three paragraphs that there would be caveats and that some would be receiving supplementary income whether from the state or other sources. But even at that if added to the state pension it would still hardly be a princely sum. And that too merely reinforces the point made. This debate is skewed and rather deliberately so.

But it's worth noting that you are the only person to introduce the issue of 'supposed poverty levels'. Neither I nor Michael mentioned poverty in relation to this issue at all.


"never set itself up as experts"

commenting mobile, not good.

"never set ourselves up as experts..."

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