McDonald calls on Government to reverse discriminatory 2012 changes to state pension

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today called on the Government to reverse the discriminatory 2012 changes to the state pension that has disproportionally impacted on women with some losing up to €30 a week in their payment.

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

“People who are being discriminated against when it comes to the state pension are today protesting outside the Dáil again to demand full restoration of their pension entitlement. Some are losing out on nearly €30 a week as a result of changes introduced in 2012.

“This discrimination disproportionately affects women who exited the workforce to raise children and look after families, and who then returned to employment later in life to qualify for the maximum payment. These changes hurt some men too.

“The Fine Gael-led Government of the day made these changes in the full knowledge of the weekly cut to payments and that the change would disproportionately impact women.

“Sinn Féin has been calling on Government to sort this out. In December 2016, we brought forward a Dáil motion to address this injustice that was rejected by Fine Gael Fianna Fáil. Our Budget for 2018 demonstrated to Government how the funding could be provided to rectify and correct this discrimination. We have also raised the matter in the Dáil and Seanad numerous times over the last 5 years.

“Government is now considering some partial restoration. The Minister for Social Protection has acknowledged that these citizens have been wronged and whilst she has vowed to fix it she has expressed the view that something magical will have to happen to find the money.

“This is the Government who infamously conjured up €5 million to fund the Taoiseach’s vanity project in the form of the Strategic Communications Unit, and could find financial space to introduce tax cuts that disproportionately benefited higher earners.

“Sinn Féin’s 2018 Budget proposals demonstrated how the €70 million necessary to correct this injustice. Government’s job now is to provide a solution to right this wrong.”