Fianna Fáil has been accused of rank hypocrisy on the issue of pension inequality by Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD over their refusal to back a vote that would have curtailed bumper pensions for Ministers and senior civil servants in order to restore pensions to people who lost out in changes introduced in 2012. The changes to state pensions have resulted in an estimated 36,000 people, mainly women, receiving reduced rate pensions.
Speaking after the vote Deputy Shortall said:
“Fianna Fáil themselves brought forward the proposal to reverse the 2012 changes which was welcome, the Social Democrats put forward an amendment that identified a funding source that would pay for these changes. The fact that Fianna Fáil voted this amendment down speaks volumes, they are more interested in using pensioners as a pawn to score political points against Fine Gael, than actually assisting them.”
“In 2013, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan promised to restrict tax relief to ensure that any tax benefit would be limited to a pension of no more than €60,000. However, this was not fully implemented and the result was that Ministers and senior civil servants continue to enjoy bumper pensions up to €100,000.”
“If Fianna Fáil were serious about assisting these pensioners, they would have supported the Social Democrats motion which would have resulted in savings of approximately €120 million per annum, more than twice the cost of reversing the 2012 cuts for state pensioners. They seem to have chosen to protect the pensions of Ministers”, concluded Deputy Shortall.