Government pensions U-turn is welcomed by farm women
Mary Flaherty was a relieved woman last Wednesday. The retired farmer from Lisselton, near Listowel, Co Kerry was one of the 268 women whose State contributory pension was reinstated.
The decision by new Social and Family Affairs Minister Eamon Ó Cuiv to return the payments overturned a move by his predecessor, Mary Hanafin, who withdrew pension entitlements from the retired farm women.
Mary faced a bill in the region of €11,000 if she were forced to pay back pension payments she had received.
Having worked on the family farm for years, the 67-year-old was adamant she was entitled to keep her payment.
"My husband Dan and I built the herd up from 70 cows to 130 in the late 1980s," she said.
"Myself and the children, the whole family, were involved in the cows. We got ahead of the times but it was because we all helped out."
The Kerry woman insisted she would have refused to pay back any money because of a mistake by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
"I said to myself, 'there is no way I will pay them back'," she insisted. "It was their own fault."