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Bill Provides for Changes in CofI Contribution to Clergy DC Pension Schemes

Bill Provides for Changes in CofI Contribution to Clergy DC Pension Schemes


A Bill which aims to provide for future changes in the Church of Ireland contribution to the Church of Ireland Clergy Defined Contribution Pension Schemes, provided always that the contribution rate will not be reduced below 8% of the relevant minimum approved stipend or episcopal stipend was proposed at General Synod in Wexford today (Friday May 12).

Proposing Bill No 9 on behalf of the Representative Church Body, Robert Neill explained that it related to the current clergy defined contribution pension schemes, of which there are two – one for clergy in Northern Ireland and one for clergy in the Republic of Ireland. For both pension schemes, members of the clergy contribute 9% of their relevant Minimum Approved Stipend and their parish or dioceses contributes 8%.

“The Representative Body has initiated a review of the expected pensions payable from these clergy defined contribution pension schemes,” he said. “We may wish to recommend an increase in the parish or diocesan contribution in order to achieve a better outcome for the clergy dependent on this DC scheme. As Chapter XIV is currently drafted, that is not possible, so the Bill provides flexibility to increase the rate of contribution, subject to the existing minimum of 8%.”

He added that where it was recommended that the contribution to these pension schemes be increased, then the Representative Body may recommend to Standing Committee, acting on behalf of General Synod, an increase in the parish or diocesan contribution above the 8% contribution rate for such period as approved by Standing Committee.

Mr Neill acknowledged the significant commitment of parishes and dioceses to the future welfare of retired clergy and the pressure of raising the funds to support parish ministry. He said that the RB was aware of the pressures and any changes to contribution rates would be considered in the light of the cost of both levies and pension contributions to both Direct Benefit and Direct Contribution schemes.


Speaking to the Bill, Andrew Brannigan (Down and Dromore) said that the direct contributions for clergy needed to increase and the employers’ contribution should increase for parishes. However, he expressed concern about the overall cost increase for parishes. He said the contribution formed a large amount of parishes’ free will offering and parishes could be faced with a blank cheque.

In reply Mr Neill said that they would be happy to convey the views of Synod to the actuary. He hoped members could be trusting of them and that they shared the same objectives.

The Bill passed its first and second stages and will receive its third and final reading on Tuesday May 16 when Synod will meet online.




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