Hall Of Fame

Rising Stars

Pensions and employee benefits in Ireland

A&L Goodbody LLP

The pensions and incentives practice at A&L Goodbody LLP stands out for assisting public and private sector clients with the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious pension related matters. Practice head David Main routinely advises on occupational pension schemes and personal pension arrangements, while Keavy Ryan, who leads the incentives practice, is experienced in handling all aspects of share incentive mandates. Chris Comerford and David Francis are key names within the practice, regularly acting for employers, trustees and those operating in the pensions and investment elements of corporate transactions and benefit scheme restructurings. Aoife Malone focuses on the restructuring and winding-up of defined benefit pension schemes, and the pension aspects of M&A.

Practice head(s):

David Main; Keavy Ryan

Other key lawyers:

Chris Comerford; David Francis; Rosaleen Boyle; Aoife Malone


‘Very high-level participation by senior staff; Partner very active, hands-on, and always available for consultation. Advice is always well considered and reflects deep knowledge and experience of pension issues and legal precedent.’

‘The following stand out; knowledge, experience, articulate and give the trustees a high level of confidence in the advice being imparted. David Main is the hands-on partner dealing with our scheme.’

‘The share plans team in A&L Goodbody are first class. They have a deep and broad level of experience and can provide advice on a wide variety of share plan solutions. They are also well known in the industry in Ireland, so it is really easy to have them work with our other third parties as they will have engaged with them previously and have good relationships with many of our other partners.’

‘Rosaleen Boyle couldn’t be more helpful, and in particular, over the last few months, we have had a few workstreams with the team. The timeliness of responses and ability to turn around our requests efficiently is one of this team’s core strengths.’

‘Excellent technical skills as well as commercial approach.’

‘Chris Comerford and David Francis – excellent technical lawyers – able to drill down to get to the heart of the legal point – but the ability to take a commercial approach when required.’

‘The team is consistent over many years, which has helped to build a solid client relationship between all stakeholders. Efficient and thorough are words that spring to mind to describe the services received.’

‘David Main – first-rate pension lawyer, providing excellent client service.’

Key clients

Irish Airline Pilots Pensions and Irish Airlines Pensions DAC

The Trustees of the Bank of Ireland Staff Pensions Fund


Heineken Ireland Limited






Bank of America Merrill Lynch


CRH plc

Permanent TSB

Trustee of AA Ireland Pension Scheme


SMBC Aviation

Trustees of the Gulf Ireland Pensions Plan

Northern Trust

Sun Life

Trustee of the Concern Worldwide Defined Benefit Pension Plan

Kennedy Wilson Europe

MacKay Shields

Becton Dickinson

Upjohn Manufacturing

Purmo Group



Work highlights

  • Advised NatWest on the pensions implications of the sales of Ulster Bank loan books to AIB and PTSB in the context of the withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish market.
  • Advised Corebridge Financial (Laya Healthcare’s parent company) on the €650m sale of Laya Healthcare to Axa.
  • Advised Bank of Ireland on the employee incentives aspects of its €427m acquisition of Davy Stockbrokers.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox's 'exceptional' team handles the full spectrum of pensions law matters for both public and private sector clients and is praised for its ‘highly responsive and unparalleled expertise’. Philip Smith heads the practice, with his primary area of expertise being day-to-day administration and restructurings, in addition to acting in disputes on behalf of trustees and employers. Sarah McCague is noted for her expertise in occupational pension schemes, and Deirdre Cummins has substantial knowledge of Irish pension arrangements, often assisting both employers and trustees.

Practice head(s):

Philip Smith

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Watters; Sarah McCague; Deirdre Cummins


‘We find that the service from Arthur Cox is exceptional. We deal with subject experts who always grasp the issues at hand and deliver clear and concise advice.’

‘We deal primarily with Daniel Watters and, on occasion, Philip Smith. Daniel has an in-depth knowledge of his area and is always on hand to offer advice as issues arise.’

‘Good diversity – the team seems very collaborative and cohesive. They appear to get along and work well together in a respectful manner. Appear to mentor new staff well. Good advice – generally to the point, no waffle.’

‘Philip Smith – goes the extra mile for his clients, including zooming in from holidays for important meetings. Likewise, Sarah McCague is very available and responsive to clients.’

‘We have worked with Arthur Cox and its pensions and employee benefits practice for some time now and are more than satisfied with the wonderful service that they provide us with. The knowledge and capability has been second to none.’

‘I have worked with Daniel Watters, in particular, for quite some time now. He is exceptional at his job, and his knowledge of pensions is second to none. In addition to that, he is calm, logical, approachable and easy to speak to. I am always confident and assured in the advice that he provides.’

‘The practice is well resourced to provide the specific high quality and considered pensions and employment law related advice needed, promptly.’

‘The individual advisor is responsive, a subject matter expert, and confident in his advice. I know if it has gone past his desk, we are in safe hands.’

Key clients


Ulster Bank Ireland DAC

Flutter Entertainment plc

Trustees of the Medisize Ireland Limited Defined Benefit Pension Scheme

Glanbia plc

Grafton Group plc

An Post

Assured Partners Limited


Trustees of the Ervia DB and DC pension Schemes

Work highlights

  • Advised Ulster Bank DAC on pensions aspects of its exit from the Irish Market.
  • Advised Diageo on its data breach.
  • Advised the trustees of An Post on disputes relating to pension increases.

ByrneWallace LLP

ByrneWallace LLP's practice acts for a broad range of public and private sector employers to assist with issues from the entire spectrum of pension law matters, including drafting and amending pension schemes, pensions regulatory and taxation applications. Practice head Liam Connellan has significant experience in assisting scheme trustees, pensioner associations and individuals with the pension aspects of M&A and corporate transactions, and disputes. Catherine Dowling and Aisling Brennan are key names of note within the team.

Practice head(s):

Liam Connellan

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Dowling; Aisling Brennan


‘Liam Connellan is our main point of contact, but I have been impressed with the advice received on the occasions where other team members have been involved. They have joined calls at short notice and provided clear advice.’

‘Liam Connellan has a very strong understanding of the Irish pensions landscape and provides practical advice to help clients proceed with the matters at hand. He takes a strong interest in the issues clients are facing and maintains regular contact to ensure the relevant items progress.’

‘Byrne Wallace provides valuable expertise on the Irish pension, legal landscape.’

‘Liam Connellan is knowledgeable, approachable and responsive and provides practical advice.’

‘We worked with Liam Connellan for our project. Liam had all of the expertise that was required & expected. He was approachable, available when we needed and provided detailed advice to assist us in our decision-making in taking our project to successful completion. I would highly recommend Liam as a very knowledgeable pensions lawyer.’

Key clients

Glanbia Co-Operative Society Limited

FCR Media Limited

Trustee Principles Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Glanbia Co-Operative Society Limited on the complex pension issues arising on putting in place funding arrangements for its recently announced acquisition of Glanbia plc’s 40% interest in Glanbia Ireland.
  • Advised FCR Media Limited on the wind-up of the Golden Pages Pension Plan.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland's broad offering handles a broad array of matters, from pension de-risking and liability management, to restructurings and IORP II compliance. The group exhibits deep knowledge of funding agreements and scheme governance, routinely representing clients in benefit disputes and pensions litigation. Practice head Peter Fahy bolsters the team’s offering with his expertise in the pension aspects of corporate transactions. David McKeating regularly advises employers and trustees of pension schemes on the interpretation and application of the pension provisions.

Practice head(s):

Peter Fahy

Other key lawyers:

David McKeating


‘Peter Fahy provided us with exceptionally responsive support in a high-pressure project.’

‘Utilised for pension legal advice. Excellent industry coverage and expertise. Responsive and providing clear advice.’

‘Measured and clear advice. Main support provided by David McKeating.’

‘The team as a whole is very responsive to queries. Good mix of seniority in the team. The team guided us through a significant transaction and was commercially focused throughout, never losing focus over the potential benefits to the scheme if successful.’

‘The team are extremely knowledgeable about all areas of the law. They work well with other service providers, understanding client’s needs.’

‘Peter Fahy’s knowledge is outstanding. His ability to simplify and communicate complex matters makes him stand out from competitors.’

‘Overall, we found the team to be very accommodating and knowledgeable on the key topics. We worked closely with Peter Fahy on legal documentation, and he is very supportive, dedicated a lot of time to us and was available to join meetings at short notice.’

‘Peter Fahy and David McKeating are capable and provide efficient and useful advice.’

Key clients

Willis Towers Watson

CIE pension schemes

Siemens plc

Irish Blood Transfusion Service superannuation scheme

Trustees of the Bausch & Lomb pension schemes

Primark Pension Trustees

Smurfit Kappa pension schemes

Trustees of the P&O pension scheme

Trustees of the Friends First Retirement and Death Benefits scheme

Trustees of the Standard Life Republic of Ireland Staff Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Baxter Healthcare Ireland Retirement and Death Benefit

Irish Airlines Pilots Association

Irish Ferries Pension Scheme

Liberty Seguros Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros S.A. (Liberty Europe

Irish Aviation Authority Pension Schemes

Zurich Life Assurance Plc


Goodbody EBT

Trustees of the Ove ARUP pension scheme

Trustees of the Wavin pension scheme

Trustees of the Keg Distributors ltd pension scheme

PM Group

Construction Workers Pension scheme

Trustee Reckitt Benckiser Ireland Pension Fund

DXC Technology

J&E Davy

Trustees of the Renishaw Ireland Ltd pension scheme

JCI Johnson Controls

Irish Distillers Limited

Trustees of the KBC Bank Ireland Plc Pension Scheme

Amcor Holding No. 1 Limited

Boart Longyear Limited

Trustees of the Commission for Aviation Regulation Superannuation

Trustees AC Nielsen of Ireland Employee Benefits

Trustees of the Cork Master Printers Association Pension

Goodbody Pensioneer Trustees Limited

Trustees of the CG Power Systems Ireland Limited Pension Plan

Trinity Foundation

Trustees St Patrick’s College Maynooth Pension Plan 1997

Acorn Master Trustee Designated Activity Company

Trustees of ABB Group Ireland Pension Scheme

Trustees of ABB Industrial Systems Ltd Retirement & Death Benefit Plan

The Trustees of the Bank of Ireland Staff Pension Fund

Henkel Ireland Limited

Astra Zeneca Ireland Pension Fund

Standard Life International DAC

Trustees of the CIE Regular Wages Pension Scheme

KBC Ireland Pension Schemes

Work highlights

  • Advised Cornmarket on all aspects of the establishment and launch of its master trust for the public sector AVC market.
  • Advised the trustee of the Lombard Ireland Pension Scheme on the withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish market.
  • Advised Irish Distillers Limited on the negotiation and implementation of a long term funding agreement and innovative contingent asset arrangement with the trustees of its defined benefit scheme.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

The team Mason Hayes & Curran LLP primarily advises employers, pension scheme trustees and pension providers on pension scheme funding, pension-specific data protection issues, and liability management projects. The team is led by Stephen Gillick, who has vast expertise in the pension aspects of corporate acquisitions and IORP II pensions legislation. Peggy Hughes provides ongoing support on the full range pension scheme matters, from establishment to the wind-up of schemes, while Patrick O’Connor focuses on the drafting of pension scheme documentation.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Gillick

Other key lawyers:

Peggy Hughes; Patrick O’Connor


‘Very good knowledge and experience and a pleasure to deal with. This is true of all the staff I have dealt with in the business.’

‘Three individuals in the practice stand out for me: Stephen Gillick, Peggy Hughes and Patrick O’Connor. Great knowledge, friendly and approachable, nothing is a problem, will give you their time freely.’

‘The pensions team has a very practical and business-orientated approach to issues.’

‘Stephen Gillick and Patrick O’Connor are always accessible.’

‘Depth of experience and expertise. Timely, accurate and commercially focused advice.’

‘Peggy Hughes communicated very clearly with us at all times.’

McCann FitzGerald LLP

Under the leadership of Eleanor Cunningham, the pensions and incentives team at McCann FitzGerald LLP maintains a broad practice known for handling a wide range of pensions and incentive matters for a diverse client base of financial institutions, state sponsored bodies and trustees. The group handles the full spectrum of restructuring and winding up of pension benefits schemes and disputes, often appearing before the pensions ombudsman and Labour courts. Key members of the team include Catherine Austin and Clementine Farrell.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Austin; Clementine Farrell


‘Smart, capable and collegiate.’

‘Eleanor Cunningham is pragmatic, professional and pleasant to work with.’

‘A very strong pensions team. We particularly enjoy working with Catherine Austin. She is very knowledgeable, focused and provides excellent pragmatic advice on the law.’

‘ We particularly enjoy working with Catherine Austin. She is very knowledgeable, focused and provides excellent pragmatic advice on the law.’

‘The pensions team in McCann FitzGerald provides an excellent service.’

‘Catherine Austin’s in-depth knowledge of pensions enables her to continue to provide practical solutions to complex issues.’

‘First-rate pensions lawyers.’

‘Eleanor Cunningham – first-rate pension lawyer, providing excellent client service.’

Key clients

Aer Lingus

ESB Committee

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c.

Trustees of a major semi-state statutory pension scheme

Trustees of the AerCap defined benefit pension scheme and AerCap

Work highlights

  • Advised Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. on all pensions aspects arising from the acquisition by AIB from Ulster Bank/NatWest of Ulster Bank’s commercial banking division.
  • Advised the ESB Defined Benefit Pension Scheme Committee and the in-house pension team in ESB that supports the Committee on a wide-range of issues on an on-going basis.
  • Advised Aer Lingus on pensions and employment issues arising from their various multi—employer defined benefit schemes.

William Fry LLP

William Fry LLP continues to act for a wide range of clients in pensions and employee benefits-related matters, including pension scheme restructurings and regulatory issues related to IORP II. The practice is co-chaired by Ian Devlin and Maura Roe, both of whom advise regulatory bodies and pension scheme trustees on liability management exercises, share schemes and incentive programs. Louise Harrison and Ciara McLoughlin are key names within the group.

Practice head(s):

Ian Devlin; Maura Roe

Other key lawyers:

Louise Harrison; Ciara McLoughlin


‘Very Knowledgeable, approachable and trusted.’

‘Ian Devlin – practical with the ability to explain complexity in simple terms. Excellent response rate and proactive.’

‘Our pensions contact is always able to get support, at the appropriate level,  from their colleagues on other teams as needed.’

‘Ian Devlin is our main contact. Very approachable and available. He gives considered and practical advice and can change course as appropriate if new information comes to light during a project which impacts the initial legal view.’

Key clients


Corporate Fitness Works Inc

P.S.K Tech America, Inc

Technopath Manufacturing Limited

Laminate Solutions Limited

Becton Dickinson Pension Schemes

Aviva Ireland Staff Pension Schemes

Guinness Ireland Group Pension Scheme

Safefood 360°

PIPO Europe Limited (TikTok)


Krispy Kreme



Nordic Aviation Capital DAC


Affiliates Management Company




The Irish Times

SOLAS, The Further Education and Training Authority

Boots Retail (Ireland) Limited

Kilsaran Concrete

Trustee Principles Limited

Glanbia Co-Operative Society Limited

Valeo Foods (Ireland)

Sanofi – Aventis

Mayfair Equity Partners

Edwards Lifesciences

Smurfit Kappa plc

Northgate Public Services

J&E Davy


Sodexo Limited


DCC plc

Mincon plc


Univar Ireland Pension Schemes

Ogletree Deakins





Certa Ireland Limited

Brennan General Insurance Services Limited

Imperial Tobacco Mullingar Pension Fund

John Player Ireland Pension Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Amgen on the employee share incentive aspects of its proposed takeover of Horizon Therapeutics for $27.8bn, for several hundred employees across a number of jurisdictions.
  • Advised the trustees of the John Player Ireland pension schemes on a bulk annuity buy-out transaction.
  • Advised the trustees of the Imperial Tobacco Mullingar Pension & Death Benefit Plan on a bulk annuity buy-out transaction in Q4 of 2022.

Matheson LLP

Matheson LLP assists a wide variety of international companies and financial institutions with the full spectrum of pension related mandates, including the merger of retirement benefits schemes, compliance, contractual claims for pension entitlement and the winding-up of pension schemes. Lorcan Keenan heads the practice, specialising in the creation, function, and regulatory structure of occupational pension schemes.

Practice head(s):

Lorcan Keenan


‘Matheson has long been a highly reputable and trusted firm. Lorcan Keenan has a strong track record, and we look forward to seeing his collaborative and practical solution-focused approach in his new role.’

‘Lorcan Keenan’s key attributes are his attention to detail and a collaborative and practical solution-focused approach. He is responsive and can provide clear guidance and advice.’

‘The team’s strengths include a wide knowledge of technical pensions issues along with the ability to collaborate with management and other advisors to offer practical solutions to complex issues.’

‘Lorcan Keenan has developed a good understanding of our business structures and can offer relevant and pragmatic advice as appropriate. I have valued the attention to detail and prompt response times on technical pension-related matters.’

‘Lorcan Keenan is practical and commercially astute.’

‘Lorcan Keenan is very clear and efficient in his advice. He gives a practical perspective and is extremely knowledgeable in this area.’

‘Lorcan Keenan is a good addition to the team and is responsive and expert.’