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Equality proofing pension payment legislation must be government priority - Kathleen Funchion TD

18 October, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin TD for Carlow-Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has said that women will continue to miss out on equal pension payments according to the State’s current legislation simply by virtue of the fact that they are women .

Speaking this evening in the Dáil, Teachta Funchion said:

"The fact that women are receiving around €35 less per week in their pensions because they took time out of work to care for their families is wrong, outdated and goes contrary to the principles of gender equality. 

"People are rightly outraged at this unfair discrimination which is in fact increasing year-on-year in the number of people it impacts.

"The National Women's Council of Ireland has said that since Budget 2018 was announced last week they have 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.

"Equally, I have been asked time and again about this situation by women from across my constituency.

"Tens of thousands of pensioners are suffering because of cuts made in 2012 and it was seriously disappointing that none of last week’s budget announcements addressed the issue. 

"In our alternative budget, Sinn Féin did provide for a reversal of the 2012 cuts. It would cost the Exchequer €70 million but the Government chose to ignore this proposal.

"Our party also called for the 2012 changes to be reversed and for a remedy to be implemented last year in December through a Private Members Bill which both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voted against and did not support.

"The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said today on Morning Ireland that she is looking at reforms but she claims that the system is already 'fair'.

"And that 'In every complex system there are winners and losers and in this system there is an anomaly that disadvantages a very small number of people relative to the large number of pensioners that we have'. Fair is not how I would describe this system.

"It is a scandal that Minister Doherty feels this way about legislation which reduces so many old age pensioners in their earned entitlements for the simple fact that they are women and were discriminated against based on their circumstances.

"Yes, it needs to be reviewed as a whole, but this should be expedited urgently by the Minister and the necessary changes must be made a priority."

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