Clash over old airline pension scheme

Chairman of IASS trustees says note from Siptu official could be seen as financial advice

Trustees of the former Irish airline workers' pension scheme clashed with a trade union official representing workers who had invested in the insolvent fund. Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) put €263 million into new retirement funds this year to allow staff to transfer out of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme (IASS), which had a €750 million shortfall.

Staff in both companies have been transferring to the new fund, while contributions to the old scheme have halted and its benefits have been cut and frozen.

In a letter to Liam Berney of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Brian Duncan, chairman of the IASS trustees, says a note from Siptu official Dermot O'Loughlin to workers could be construed as financial advice. "It would also be a concern for the trustee (as I expect it would for Siptu) if Siptu is deemed to be providing investment advice to members," the letter states.

However, Mr O’Loughlin said the note he sent to workers advocated that they get financial advice about the best way to use what was due to them from the old scheme.


Members of the old scheme are entitled to a “transfer value” from the fund, namely the benefits that its actuaries calculate are due to them. They have the option of moving it to the new retirement plan. Mr O’Loughlin said that depending on the individual, some would be better off transferring it into the new scheme, while others might not. He stressed that he had told workers they needed financial advice. “I am not a qualified financial adviser and I would not be giving financial advice,” he said.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas