UCC may face pension deficit of €8m

A dispute between UCC and the Department of Education regarding one of the universities pension funds could lead to a severe funding problem for the university.

The issue, which could see UCC lose up to €8.3 million, between the two bodies concerns who will pay the future liabilities of one of the two pension schemes that UCC currently operates.

The assets of the dispute in question was moved to the National Pensions Reserve fund in March 2010. Legislation states funds given to the university by the Oireachtas are used to ensure that any deficiency between benefits payable and old contributions is corrected.

Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller; Auditor General, declared that he believes that UCC should reduce the value of their deferred pension funding asset by €8.3 million as the figure was “contingent in nature”. He also stated that he did not believe the State would change their stance on the matter.

“Correspondence between the university and the Department of Education and Skills calls into doubt whether the State will meet that liability,” said Mr McCarthy.

The university claimed that it has received legal advice on the matter and that the transfer of the fund to the National Pension Reserves Fund result in the liabilities resting with the state.

Both the Department of Education and UCC refused to make any comments regarding the dispute.

Honorary treasurer Dermot O’Mahony explained that inadequate state funding for essential maintenance is currently having a severe impact on the long-term sustainability of the university.

Dan O’Connor

Image Credit: UCC Express

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