Irish IORP II transposition faces further delay

The transposition of the IORP II Directive in Ireland is facing further delays as Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic take “priority”.

In August this year, the Pensions Regulator, Brendan Kennedy, said the transposition of the directive, which should have been transposed by January 2019, would be complete by the end of this year.

However, with only seven weeks of the year left, the directive is still to be fully converted into domestic law. It is now expected to be transposed early next year, but no date for its finalisation has been set. Ireland is the only remaining country not to have fully completed the transposition of the directive and is one of the countries facing infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission due to the delay.

A spokesperson for the Pensions Authority said the timing of the transposition is “ultimately a matter for government and is looked after by our parent Department of Social Protection (DSP)”.

In response to a request by European Pensions, a spokesperson for the DSP said: “While many of the provisions of the IORP II Directive are already transposed into Irish law, regulations under the European Communities Act 1972 are necessary to fully transpose the directive. The drafting of the regulations is being undertaken in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and is at an advanced stage.

“When finalised the regulations will be signed into law by the minister. Accordingly, the transposing measures will not require passage through the Oireachtas. It is hoped to finalise these regulations as soon as possible.”

There are two ways of transposing the directive, either by passing legislation through parliament or by regulation, which is an order signed by the minister that doesn’t have to go through parliament. Whilst the government has been vague on which method it would use, the DSP’s latest statement suggests it will be done through regulation.

When pressed further on this and its reason for delay, the DSP stated: “The drafting of the regulations is being undertaken in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and is at an advanced stage. However, a number of other pieces of critical legislation, including Brexit and Covid-19 related matters have taken priority.”

Commenting on this update, Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) CEO, Jerry Moriarty, said: “The continuing delay and lack of clarity on when this will be transposed is frustrating, especially as it is coming up to two years after this should have been done.

“Trustees have been continually told that the transposition will result in a significant change in how they will need to operate and in regulation. As the directive provides a lot of flexibility in how the provisions are implemented by states, and with no draft legislation or regulations published and no consultation, it has been impossible for them to properly plan for what they need to do.”

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