Thursday 12 December 2019

'How dare they? We built the country' - woman feels punished by State Pension cut

Mary O’Connor (67), from Cobh, Co Cork
Mary O’Connor (67), from Cobh, Co Cork
Zephra Johnston (right), from Greystones, Co Wicklow, delivers her message Photos: Damien Eagers
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Pensioners are "incensed by the audacity" of reducing their State pensions and feel they are being punished for raising their children.

Mary O'Connor (67) travelled from Cobh, Co Cork, by train yesterday to protest outside Leinster House where hundreds of demonstrators called for a resolution to the "bonkers" anomaly that has left pensioners out of pocket.

Ms O'Connor said she was earning €30 less a week due to 2012 changes which altered how a person's State pension is calculated.

The rule change negatively affects women in particular who left the workplace before 1994 for a period of time - as the calculating system is based on the PRSI contributions made by a worker and are divided by the number of years since they began employment.

She feels she is being punished for staying at home with her four children despite not having any alternative at the time.

Ms O'Connor left her job in a semi-state company in 1970 - at the time, the marriage bar meant women were forced to leave the civil service when they got married.

She said she went back to work as a receptionist 27 years later.

"We're so incensed by the audacity of the whole thing. How dare they? We built the country," she said.

"I took 27 years [to rear my kids] and worked for 18 years afterwards.

"I'm €30 down a week, that's €120 a month, it doesn't make sense. It's actually just disrespectful."

Irish Independent

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