Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD has said that the failure by Minister Doherty, and her predecessor Leo Varadkar, to publish the report on the pension system agreed to during the passage of last year’s Social Welfare Bill has stifled progress in the area of pension inequality, and must be rectified as soon as possible.
Deputy O’Dea added, “It is imperative that this report is made available as soon as possible. The current nature of the pension system is inequitable and the changes introduced in 2012 made it more difficult to access the full rate of the State Contributory pension. This has caused a great deal of stress and financial hardship for many older people and for women in particular.
“Whilst I am aware that there are plans to move from an averaging approach to a total contributions approach by 2020, thousands of people continue to lose out on a weekly basis.
“This fundamental and growing problem is the reason why I, and my party, brought forward a motion last week in the Dáil on correcting pension inequities. It is imperative that where possible anomalies in the system are found that they are addressed.
“Many older people have no other income in retirement and are solely reliant on the State Contributory Pension. The band changes introduced in 2012 saw some lose as much as €30 per week and this is a considerable sum of money, particularly for those on a fixed income, leaving many struggling to make ends meet’.
“It is within the Government’s own capabilities to address this and other anomalies. The move to a total contributions system in 2020 will not help those who are currently losing out on their entitlement to a full state pension and Minister Doherty should act to rectify this situation as quickly as possible,” concluded O’Dea.