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Government PIPS proposal does not go far enough

28 April, 2009

Speaking today from Leinster House Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called for fundamental reform of Ireland’s pension system adding "I welcome Mary Hanafin’s admission that government intervention is needed to protect workers whose pension schemes have collapsed it is a little galling coming from a Minister who will benefit from three state pensions on her retirement."

Deputy Morgan said:

"The good news is that the government is finally waking up to the fact that workers pension schemes need protecting, the bad news is that the proposed scheme is limited in its scope so therefore does not go far enough.

"Worryingly the scheme does not acknowledge the insecurity of the market upon which pension provision relies. It also does not tackle the number of workers who have no pension provision at all.

"In 2007 Sinn Féin proposed a reform of the pension system by increasing and universalising the state pension which would be augmented by a Social Insurance earning-related pension.

"Pension policy at present is neither equitable nor progressive and is failing the low paid and women. Those on the higher incomes have enjoyed tax relieves at the higher rate of tax. The public purse would benefit to the tune of €1 billion euro if tax relief on pensions was to be standardised. Why was this not done in this month’s emergency budget?

"Current public pension arrangements continue to discriminate against women. Women generally tend to have fewer entitlements to contributory pensions as many are full time carers in the home and therefore have not the necessary social insurance record. This ‘homemakers disregard’ devalues the work of homemakers. Credits should be awarded to full time carers in recognition by the state of their contribution to the economy and society.

"Sinn Féin also wants to see the PRSI ceiling abolished. This would be a progressive, equitable and essential element in the overall reform of Ireland’s taxation and pension systems. It is also required in order to boost the social insurance fund which is at risk of running out. I support yesterday’s call by TASC for the promised Framework Document on Pensions to be brought forward by government as a matter of urgency. As with the taxation system we need fundamental reform of Ireland’s pension system. And we need an inclusive public debate on both." ENDS

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