Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has hit out at Fianna Fáil as the Government faces an embarassing defeat in the Dáil later today over its failure to address a women’s pension anomaly in Budget 2018.
The row centres on changes made by Joan Burton in 2012 which saw women who took time out of employment to raise families before 1994 receive smaller pension payments.
Fianna Fáil, who supported last week’s budget, have tabled a motion that is likely to be supported by Sinn Fein.
The vote centres around a motion which would reinstate a full State pension for those who took time out from work to raise a family prior to 1994.
Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, however, Regina Doherty launched a blistering attack on Fianna Fail pointing out that the anomaly in system had been known since 2010 when Fianna Fáil was in power.
“There are some 40,000 people who are being treated differently. The system isn’t kind to them. We’ve all recognised this.”
Doherty said, however, that the problem with the pension system wasn’t addressed in Budget 2018 is because the exact amount of money it would cost to fix the system was not known. It is still not known how much it will cost the State.
She added: “Fianna Fáíl can’t be trusted with the economy. The pension system is complex. When you tinker with one thing, another anomaly can spring up somewhere. We’re going to be very careful.”
Speaking yesterday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he agreed there was a problem, but the money wasn’t there to fix it in one budget.
“As a government we absolutely accept that there is a need to review this whole area, to examine anomalies and come up with changes, but those changes should not be done in isolation,” he said.
“If we’re going to do pension reform, we should do it comprehensively.
“But there’s one area where I actually disagree with a number of the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and people campaigning in this space. What some of them have said is they want to move away from the contributory principle altogether, and I disagree with that.”