IRELAND - The Irish Pensions Board has successfully prosecuted an employer for failing to provide information relating to the provision of a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA).

Allerbrack Limited, a firm based in Wexford, was fined €1,000 after it was judged to have failed to comply with a written request from the Pensions Board to provide information, including the names of all the occupational schemes established for employees of the firm.

In addition, the Pensions Board claimed the firm also failed to provide a copy of the contract between Allerbrack and a regulated PRSA provider, while copies of notifications sent to employees and confirmation of the action taken to fulfil the requirements of the Pension Act 2002.

PRSAs were introduced in 2002 and the law requires employers to provide 'excluded employees' with access to at least one standard PRSA - which has a capped charge of a maximum of 5% of paid contributions and 1% a year of the PRSA assets - through a contract with a regulated PRSA provider. 

However, after failing to comply with the Pensions Board's requests for the necessary information to monitor compliance with the legislation, the Enniscorthy district court fined Allerbrack €300 and ordered it to pay a further €700 in costs.

Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of the Pensions Board, said: "Failure to respond to a request for information by the Board in relation to employers PRSA obligations is an offence. The Board has a responsibility to enforce this requirement and regards non-compliance as a serious matter."

The latest legal victory follows the Pensions Board's recent success in the High Court, where it obtained a court order forcing Limestone Construction to pay pension contribution arrears amounting to €186,825. (See earlier story: Insolvent pension funds face increased pressure)

In addition, last week the Pensions Ombudsman won a court order against another construction company - 3D Restoration and Construction Limited - forcing it to produce employment records over the possibility contributions had been taken from employees but not paid into the mandatory Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS).

The recent spate of legal activity suggests the beginning of a crack-down on non-compliant employers, with Paul Kenny, the Pensions Ombudsman, previously confirming to that he has already started criminal proceedings against 3D for obstructing the investigation, and highlighted that a "few more cases are in the pipeline". (See earlier story: Ombudsman wins court case against building firm)

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