An angry Clare man revealed today how he has received a letter from the Payroll Shared Service Centre asking him to pay back a pension over payment of €5.90 ... three months after his wife Peggy died.
Peadar Daly, from Co. Clare, told Joe Duffy at his shock and anger at receiving the letter.
"It was an awful shock to get a letter like that."
Peadar went on to say he felt that surely anything under €200 should be dismissed.
He revealed how his wife Margaret (Peggy) Daly's pension was €3.75 per fortnight for cleaning work she had done for an hour a day in the local Garda station.
He also revealed how Margaret was part of the group that lost money because she was forced to resign from the Civil Service because of the marriage ban.
"She got a reduced old aged pension - €60-70 per week short of the full for the past 7 or 8 years.
"She had to rear a family and she fostered children but got no credit for it. She did home help when there was no payments.
"Peggy’s pension was €3.75 every two weeks. I said to them - why don’t you send one payment each year, to save on the paperwork. She had no bank account of her own. It was paid into my account."
Responding to the case the Payroll Shared Service Centre extended their sincerest sympathies to Mr Daly and his family on the death of his wife.
"We apologise for any hurt caused by the letter Mr Daly received. It was not our intention to cause any upset to him at this very difficult time. Unfortunately Mr Daly did not contact us directly on this matter as we would have liked to resolve this with him directly.
"The Payroll Shared Service Centre pays pension payments for over 60,000 public service pensions. We know these pensioners are our mums and dads and the families of people who contributed to public service life, the economy and we value their contribution enormously.
"Unfortunately and sadly, approximately 20 times a month on average the situation arises where a payment to a pensioner is made before the payroll centre has been notified of the death.
"The letter issued is standard practice to recover that payment which is taxpayer’s money. This practice is common across the public service, including civil service, An Garda Siochana, teachers, the HSE, the military and so on.
"At present, there is no minimum amount specified in the policy that should not be sought for repayment. This very issue was brought to our attention recently and we are seeking clarification on it.
"We will follow up with Mr Daly directly."
Listen to Peader's full interview here courtesy of Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1
- Digital Desk