The deadline for submissions to the Irish Pensions Board as part of the National Pensions Policy Initiative, passed last month, amid worries that a new government might not give pensions the same priority as Social Welfare that minister Proinsias de Rossa has done.

The general election is being held on June 6.

Des Crowther, director of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) said: Who is returned to power might determine whether the national pensions initiative lives or dies."

"We are not sure that a Fianna Fail/ PD coalition will be as interested in the issue as Democratic Left were. We just don't know at this stage. But we are making the working assumption that it is going to be a feature," he said.

The Minister for Social Welfare, Proinsias De Rossa is leader of the ju-nior coalition party, Democratic Left. The government parties were, at time of going to press, trailing the prospective coalition Fianna Fail/ Progressive Democrat parties in the polls.

On the question of political uncertainty, Des Ryan, secretary of the Irish Society of Actuaries said that he be-lieved that the election of a new government would not mark a change in direction in pensions policy.

"I think that the initiative is well enough established and that sufficient work has been done by the May deadline for it not to be ignored, irrespective of which government is in po-wer," he said.

He added, however, that the society had identified the need for political consensus as a key criterion. Quoting the society's submission he said: "We feel that the following steps would encourage the development of a national pensions system: 1. Political and general consensus regarding the future direction of national pensions policy." Groups such as the IAPF and the Institute of Actuaries met the 30 May deadline for submissions.

Crowther added that the IAPF will not be publishing its submission, which included a study of 1,000 working people who were not covered by pension provision, until after the election.

The pensions board will present a summation of the presentations in Dublin Castle this summer and is expected to make policy recommendations to the Minister for Social Welfare in September.John Lappin"