Brian Hayes MEP today said that EIOPA’s (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) stress test results on pension funds which show that Irish occupational pension funds have recorded significant deficits is an important warning sign.
“EIOPA’s stress test results are an important warning sign that our pension funds have come through significant financial stress. Clearly, Ireland has gone through a tough bailout and in many cases, pension funds do not have sufficient assets to meet all liabilities. The current low-interest rate environment is creating strain on many pension funds also.
“The stress tests present important information. It shows that we need to ensure that the right tools are in place to support members and beneficiaries during a financial crisis. The EU’s Occupational Pension Funds Directive is currently being negotiated and in that we are trying to improve important provisions for pension funds such as investment rules, funding requirements and governance procedures.
“Pension funds are very much part of the long-term financing of the Irish and European economy. We need to recognise that it is the long-term nature of pension funds that allows them to run temporary deficits. But the lesson for these stress tests is that proper mechanisms need to be there for pension funds to run such deficits, while also ensuring that pensioners continue to be paid out and that there is sustainability into the long-term.
“In Ireland the old-age dependency ratio is projected to double between now and 2050. Obviously providing for this age cohort in terms of solid pension schemes is crucial.”
Fine Gael MEP for Dublin Brian Hayes has today (Wednesday) said that the EU Commission will extend powers to allow judges to check whether an accused person has a criminal record in another Member State.
“Under the European Criminal Records information System (ECRIS) judges can currently check criminal records and fingerprints of an accused EU citizen via one single request rather than through 27 individual requests to other EU member states. It is now proposed by the Commission that this will be extended to non-EU nationals.
“This important decision will help to determine easily whether a guilty party was previously convicted in another Member State. In 2014 there were 688,354 convictions of non-EU citizens across the EU, but in only 3 percent of these cases did judges request to see if the individuals on trial had convictions in other EU countries.
“The ECRIS was originally implemented by a large majority of Member States in April 2012, to create an efficient exchange of information on criminal convictions throughout the EU. There has always been a concern that national courts in EU member states often pass sentences without any knowledge of previous convictions that a guilty party may have in other EU countries.
“However challenges still currently remain in relation to convicted non- EU nationals. At the moment it is not possible to determine whether non- EU nationals were previously convicted in other EU countries without contacting each country separately.”
“We must improve the system to include non-EU nationals as well as EU nationals to respond to the growing terrorist threats we face today and to ensure a safer European Union for all its citizens.
“The system could also serve to prevent crime through removing the possibility for offenders to escape their criminal past simply by moving from one EU country to another.”
Dublin MEP Brian Hayes has today (Friday) said that paying for the bus, Luas or DART with your bank card may become reality. Mr Hayes has been campaigning for the introduction of contactless debit card payment on public transport in Dublin. Transport operators in London have introduced a similar system over a year ago.
“The National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed to me that they are investigating the use of contactless bank cards for paying for public transport. A number of technical and payments experts have been hired to develop such a system.”
“London introduced their Oyster Card 8 years before Irelands’ Leap Card. The Leap Card has been a great success but to make public transport more attractive and convenient we need to change with the times.”
“There are great benefits to the contactless system. The biggest plus is that commuters would not need to worry about topping up their Leap Card. It would also encourage those that don’tuse public transport regularly and don’t have a Leap Card to use public transport as they would avoid the much higher cash fare.”
“I hope that progress can be made throughout 2016 in developing this system.”
Speaking at a Fine Gael constituency meeting in Dun Laoghaire tonight (Thursday) Fine Gael MEP and Director of Elections, Brian Hayes said the choice facing the electorate in the coming weeks is straight forward. Those choices are – a stable Fine Gael/Labour Government or risk it all for a Fianna Fail/Sinn Fein Government.
“In every election over the past 90 years voters were offered a choice of Governments. At this election that’s different.”
“Fianna Fail’s Director of Elections has said he expects the party to win 35 seats – far short of forming a Government. This means they would have to form a Government with Sinn Fein. I believe the Irish people do not want the Sinn Fein party next or near Government after the next election. Despite what the Leader of Fianna Fail might say about Sinn Fein, can Fianna Fail be trusted on this issue? Six of their front bench spokespeople have publicly said that they would consider going into Government with Sinn Fein. A desperate party can say desperate things!”
“Fine Gael has a long-term plan to keep the recovery going. Yes we are seeing economic progress with 135,000 more people at work, but we can’t take for granted that stability and recovery will continue. We know from Greece that political instability leads to economic instability. Our plan will deliver; more and better jobs; make work pay more than welfare and allow us to make sensible investments in public services due to the resources generated by a growing economy and rising employment.”
“Voting for Fianna Fail could allow the very people who wrecked our economy back into government and a vote for Fianna Fail could end up being a vote for Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein is a tax and spend party that will destroy confidence in the economy. The Irish people have worked too hard to get the country where it is now, we cannot go back.”
“In the face of immense challenges, the current Fine Gael/Labour Government provided stable, competent Government for the past five years. We haven’t got everything right, but on the big decisions Ireland is in a much stronger position now” concluded MEP Hayes.
Fine Gael MEP, Brian Hayes will today (Wednesday) give evidence to a House of Lords Committee inquiry taking place in Brussels on the upcoming Brexit referendum. The House of Lords Committee Inquiry is meeting all political groups within the European Parliament. Brian Hayes was selected on behalf of the EPP Group to give evidence to the inquiry.
Speaking in Brussels Mr Hayes said “From an Irish point of view it’s important that Britain remains in the EU. Already the Taoiseach has fully supported the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement with Britain. I expect that agreement to occur at the February European Council Meeting here in Brussels.”
“We all know the importance of this issue to Ireland from a trade, economic and Northern Ireland perspective – Britain leaving the EU would cause enormous disruption to British Irish relations. I’m looking forward to the evidence that I will give today to this special House of Lords Committee and regard their work in setting out basic information to a British audience as a crucial part of this debate” concluded MEP Hayes.