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Minister’s inaction on women’s pensions ‘bonkers and unbelievable’ – McDonald

12 October, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for refusing to address gender discrimination within the state pension system in Budget 2018.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions, the Dublin Central TD said:

“Budget 2018 perpetuates the discrimination faced by many, but particularly women, when it comes to the state pension.

“35,000 people have been left with a lesser pension payment than they would have received had they retired before 2012.

“This is a result of the measures introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour Party government which changed the eligibility criteria.

“This government, supported by Fianna Fáil, have form in preventing a just rectification of this problem.

“Last December, Sinn Féin put forward a motion to try to address these issues. Sinn Féin attempted to address the pension inequality against women and to reverse the changes made in 2012. Our motion was rejected by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

“The 2012 changes to the state pension made it more difficult for those without an unbroken, full-time, long-term work history to qualify for the maximum pension payment. These changes to bands, in addition to the ‘averaging rule’ regarding PRSI contributions, were completely unfair.

“They have had a disproportionate impact on women, many of whom left the workforce to raise children and look after families, with almost 25% of women on a state pension losing out.

“Some are talking about this situation as though it were some mistake or oversight. It wasn’t an oversight, it was a conscious decision. Fine Gael knew it was going to put thousands of women in this position.

“The current government continues to make decisions against the welfare of these women, with the full support of Fianna Fáil.

“Minister Donohoe has described this situation as ‘bonkers and unbelievable’. What is really bonkers and unbelievable is that the Minister’s draft and announced a budget on Tuesday that does nothing to rectify the matter.

“Sinn Féin, in our Alternative Budget 2018 document, provides for the restoration of the 2012 pension bands and rates, a deliverable measure with the political will to do so.” 

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