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Social Welfare Bill must reverse 2012 changes to pension bands

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), Age Action and the Irish County Women’s Association (ICA) today called for the Social Welfare Bill to reverse 2012 changes to pension bands. The Dáil will debate the issue with Private Members Business this week.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,
“A gender pension gap of 37% has been caused by the fact that women have considerably less access to State pensions than men. Changes to pension contribution bands in 2012 made it harder for women to qualify for a State pension, compounding the situation. Tens of thousands of women get smaller pensions, or sometimes no pension at all, simply because they took time out of the workforce to care for their children, and this is unacceptable."

"Since Budget 2018 last week, NWCI has been inundated with calls from women, some of them who have only reached pension age and realised that they have limited or no entitlement to a State pension. Older women have waited long enough; the Government must use the Social Welfare Bill to reverse the 2012 changes."

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action, said,
“The failure to respond to the plight of tens of thousands of pensioners suffering because of the 2012 cuts is one of the biggest disappointments in last week’s budget. These changes have punished pensioners who took time out of the workforce to raise children and to care for their loved ones. We've been getting calls and emails from members right across the country who are furious that the 2012 cuts have not been reversed. They’re angry that the Government’s only response is to promise to fix the problem for the next generation of pensioners and ignore those losing out today.”

“We're urging the Minister for Finance, and the TDs from every party who are due to debate this in Leinster House on Wednesday, to listen to the tens of thousands of pensioners who are losing out because of this ‘bonkers’ system, to reverse the 2012 changes and to work towards a fair State Pension."

Marie O’Toole, National President of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, said,
“We have received more than 5,000 signatures on a petition collected by our guild members from right across Ireland. They are urging the Government to address this pension anomaly and to do it sooner rather than later.”

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, NWCI, 085 8619087