Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomes "long overdue steps to address pension inequality and recognise care"

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins welcomed today’s announcement from Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty of changes to the state contributory pension system.

Senator Higgins has previously stated that “The 2012 cuts to the reduced rate state pension added injury to injury to insult for thousands of those, mainly women, who were already suffering from an unfair averaging pension system.”

She welcomed today's proposals as "important, long overdue, steps towards addressing some of the deep inequalities felt by many in our pension system which will make a real difference for women in particular".

Senator Higgins, first campaigned on this issue with Older and Bolder and the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) and made it a priority issues on the agenda of the Social Protection Committee. The Committee produced a report calling for these reforms in July 2017.

Senator Higgins stated, "I particularly want to congratulate groups like Age Action, NWCI and the many older activists who made their demand for equality heard at every level".

The Senator noted the introduction of a Homecaring Credit of up to 20 years as part of the new Total Contribution Approach: "The introduction of a care credit is one of the most positive aspects of these proposals and something I have lobbied for over many years - it is so important that care be properly recognised within the new Total Contribution Approach"

"There are still some questions to be clarified for some of those affected by these issues, particularly in terms of those who received a reduced pension before 2012 and I look forward to teasing these out with the Minister in the Social Protection Committee".

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins addressing protesters outside Leinster House on 18/01/2017 calling for pension equality

Note to Editor

Alice-Mary Higgins first campaigned for pension equality while working with the Older and Bolder alliance in 2010. She continued to advocate for pension equality and the introduction of a carer’s credit through her work with the National Women’s Council of Ireland, where she campaigned against the 2012 changes.  As a member of the Social Protection Committee, Senator Higgins placed pension injustice high on the agenda and in June 2017 the Committee produced a strong report calling for reform.   In March, Senator Higgins launched ground-breaking research from Age Action “Towards a Fair State Pension for Women Pensioners”.

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