Pic shows ( l to r ) Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Marie O’Toole, National President of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association and Lorraine Fitzsimons, Acting CEO of Age Action.
Picture: MAXWELLPHOTOGRAPHY.IE. Source
According to our member ICA (the Irish Countrywomen’s Association), the current Irish State Pension system punishes thousands of pensioners, mostly women, for having left the workforce to care for their families. ICA asks for a fair State Pension system for all and for that, they partnered with ‘Age Action’ and NWCI (the National Women’s Council of Ireland) to call on the Minister to reverse fully, the cuts imposed when the new rates were implemented in the 2012 budget. The cuts imposed along with the changes to the eligibility criteria in 2012 have drastically cut the incomes of tens of thousands of pensioners. These changes have meant at least 37,000 older people, 62% of whom are women, have been forced to live on reduced State Pensions.
On Friday 20th October 2017, the Irish Government lost a key vote in the Dáil from opposition parties when, following public pressure, the opposition mounted proposals to address the State pension gender discrimination. Whilst the Government has currently not backed down from this position, ICA, Age Action and NWCI hope that the mounting pressure of this campaign nationwide will mean that the Government will be forced to address the controversy sooner rather than later.
On 26th October, 2017 Age Action, the ICA and the NWCI called again on the Government to live up to the provisions of the European Pillar on Social Rights, particularly its commitment to pension equality as agreed by the Council of Ministers of Employment, Social Policy and Consumer Affairs in Luxembourg on the 23rd October, 2017. Read more in a press release here
The recently launched Finance Bill did not bring in the changes Age Action, the ICA and the NWCI were looking, but there are, at least, promises of a commitment to review the item in question in the near future.
More information about the ICA: www.ica.ie