Louth Councillor backs campaign to reverse pension cuts that penalise women

Irish Countrywomen’s Association campaign

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Louth Councillor backs campaign to reverse pension cuts that penalise women

Louth Councillor backs campaign to reverse pension cuts that penalise women

A Louth county councillor says she is supporting the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) campaign to have the 2012 state pension cuts, which it says mostly affect women, reversed by the government.

In a statement released this weekend, Dundalk South representative, Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell, said she hoped as many people as possible would take part in the ‘Call your TD’ campaign on Wednesday January 17 and also go along to the protest outside Leinster House the following day, January 18.

The ICA Louth Federation members have been contacted by ICA Louth president, Susan Potts, who is also Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the organisation.

Together with Age Action, National Women’s Council, Active Retirement Ireland, IMPACT and Siptu, the ICA have forced the Government to commit to ‘address’ what they call “the inequalities created by changes made to the State pension in 2012.” The campaign organisers say they now they want action on the issue.

Cllr. Campbell said:

"The State pension is calculated by adding up the total number of PRSI contributions made and then dividing it by the number of years between when you started work and when you are entitled to the pension.

"But many older women can find themselves punished by this system for taking time out of the workforce to raise a family.

"This is mainly because the weekly pension rate is calculated on the average number of contributions made over a working life.

"I know of one lady in Dundalk who worked from the age of 16 until she was 20, when she got married and stopped work to raise her family. She returned to the workforce for 15 years, but she is facing getting a reduced pension because of the way the government is making this calculation.

"This is inherently unfair, particularly to women who have looked after their families, and the government must see the injustice of this policy and fix it immediately."

As part of their campaign, the ICA wants people to contact their local TDs on January 17 to urge them to tell Minister Regina Doherty to fully reverse the cuts, focusing particularly on government TDs.

That date has been chosen because Minister Doherty is presenting a report on the issue to Cabinet the next day and, in addition they believe, having many people ringing on the same day will have a big impact.

The ICA advises that TDs can be contacted by calling Leinster House at 01 6183000 and asking for the TD you want to speak to.

According to the ICA's appeal to its members, they want people to tell TDs’ offices about their experiences and state that they "want these unfair pension cuts to be reversed."