I listened to a bit, and they did sound like people tentatively asking questions they hoped didn’t make them sound stupid.
It’s not clear how the move of public sector workers to partially PRSI based pensions is contributing to expected deficits. When McCreevy introduced the NPRF it was timed to start kicking in when you’d have expected public sector pensions to start drawing on the PRSI fund.
Clearly when the public sector started paying PRSI that would have increased the funding so that’s helped up to now. However there are a couple problems – one is that it appears that the government doesn’t make a transfer to correspond with employer’s contributions. Maybe no government does but that’s around a 1.5B funding shortfall in this somewhat notional fund. (A second problem is these PRSI pensions will be paid out earlier than normal PRSI pensions at 67.)
I wonder if other countries handle their government pensions the same way, drawing from the social security funds for their own pensions while not making a corresponding employer contribution. Clearly it doesn’t save any money whichever way they do it however knowing how they do it might help identify why a deficit might exist.