Irish men ‘receive 41% more’ in pension payments than women

Emily Logan says unpaid work women do should be rewarded with social supports

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Irish men receive an average of 41 per cent more than women in their pension payments, the Citizens’ Assembly will hear today.

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, will say the unpaid work women do should be reflected in “adequate social supports”.

The assembly is meeting this weekend for a second time to consider the challenges facing Ireland’s ageing population.

In an address on the gender pay gap and other issues, Ms Logan will set out how women’s pension entitlements have been eroded due to being forced out of employment or having to take up part-time and often precarious jobs.

She will raise the issue of career interruptions, forced upon women by the State’s historic “marriage bar”, which required those in the public service to leave their jobs after getting married.

Ms Logan will recommend that the Homemaker’s Scheme – introduced in 1994 to make it easier for providers of full-time care to children and incapacitated people to qualify for a contributory State pension – be applied retrospectively by the State to ensure equitable access to payments.

Slowly ageing

The average age of the Irish population is increasing; the number of people aged over 65 has risen more than 19 per cent since 2011.

“The more gradual pace of this demographic change in Ireland compared with elsewhere in Europe provides us with a unique space and opportunity to develop innovative ageing strategies characterised by active citizenship, respect for human dignity and intergenerational solidarity,” Ms Logan said ahead of her address.

The commission’s submission also raises concerns on the issue of elder abuse and the need for research in the area.

According to the 2013 National Positive Ageing Strategy, it said, the prevalence of elder abuse in Ireland stood at 2.2 per cent compared with rates of 3-5 per cent in other developed countries. This raised the possibility of an under-reporting of the problem.

The assembly will also hear from other speakers, including Prof Alan Barrett, director of the Economic and Social Research Institute, and Justin Moran of Age Action.