The Sindo is nothing if not a broad church – it is one of the hallmarks of its enduring success. One of those to whom Ross is probably referring – the chief executive of Standard Life Ireland Nigel Dunne – writes elsewhere in the same newspaper of a need to rebalance the 0.6% grab to include public sector workers.

Dunne does not mention Ross’ tirade in the Dail during the week but he does point up the differences between the expectations of private and public sectors when it comes to pensions.

“If the levy was spread more widely, as was previously suggested, across all pension savings and investments and to include the public sector, it could be at least be halved from its current level – and it would be fairer,” he says.

“Considering a seemingly modest annual public sector pension of €25,000 requires ‘nest egg’ savings of almost €720,000 for a private sector worker (inflation protected + spousal cover) you begin to understand just how valuable these pensions are – and how expensive they are for the taxpayer to fund. A €720,000 fund is something the ordinary private sector worker could only dream of.”

Dunne says his offices have been inundated all week with inquiries from worried clients asking about the effects the levy will have on their retirement savings. He believes the uncertainty may put people off investing in pensions altogether.

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