Fianna Fáil’s support for reversal of discriminatory state pension eligibility criteria late, cynical and self-serving – McDonald

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has described confirmation by the Taoiseach that Fianna Fáil never raised the reversal of the discriminatory 2012 state pension changes with the Taoiseach in advance of Budget 2018 as shameful but not surprising.

The Taoiseach was responding to questions put to him by the Dublin Central TD during this afternoon’s Leaders Questions in the Dáil. Deputy McDonald said:

“Sinn Féin’s alternative Budget 2018 document includes a provision to reverse the unfair 2012 changes to the eligibility criteria for the State Pension. These changes, the consequences of which were well known to government, disproportionately impact women.

“Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD wrote to the Taoiseach on the 4th of October with a copy of our alternative Budget 2018 document, and receipt of this correspondence was acknowledged by the Taoiseach’s office a couple of days later.

“As we argued in our Budget document reversal of this deeply inequitable change to the State Pension would cost €70m. The Taoiseach ignored Sinn Féin’s proposal in Budget 2018 and he refused again to address the inequities of the 2012 changes when I raised the matter with him in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Tens of thousands of women in this state are affected as the changes prevent them from receiving their full entitlement. Many are losing out on as much as €30 per week. The National Women’s Council, Age Action Ireland, and the ICA have all called for a reversal of the changes.

“Yet it appears that neither the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin nor his budget negotiation team thought the matter important enough to raise with the Taoiseach, let alone be provided for in the Government budget that they signed off on.

“Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil also voted against a Sinn Féin motion in the Dáil last December which called for the 2012 changes to be reversed and a remedy implemented.

“Yet despite passing on every opportunity to right this wrong, Fianna Fáil have suddenly had a change of heart. They’ve now put down a Dáil motion to achieve the very thing they opposed last December and didn’t seek from the Taoiseach in advance of the budget during his party’s confidence and supply budget negotiations.

“Sinn Féin welcomes Fianna Fáil to the corner of these women, no matter how late, cynical and self-serving their arrival may be. We look forward to the support of Micheál Martin and his parliamentary colleagues’ for the reversal of the 2012 pensions changes to be accommodated in the Social Welfare legislation when it comes before the Dáil in the coming weeks.” CRIOCH