Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection position regarding the ECJ ruling as to the Irish State’s obligation to adequately protect the pension entitlements of former Waterford Crystal employees; when the judgment is likely to go to be reviewed in the High Court.
Reply from Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton: The ruling by the European Court of Justice was in response to a reference by the High Court seeking clarification of the interpretation of European law emanating from EU Directive 2008/94EC on the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer.
Following the ECJ ruling, the matter will now revert to the High Court for consideration. It is anticipated that the Court will set a date for the hearing of this case shortly.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a new European Commission study, The Gender Gap in Pensions in the EU, indicates that Irish women aged 65 years and over receive an average pension which is 35% lower than the average for Irish men in the same age group; her view on the reason for this imbalance; and the efforts being made to address same.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The recently published European Commission report, ‘The Gender Gap in Pensions in the EU’, deals with the gender gap in pensions across Europe and is the first study of its kind. The study reveals that across the 27 EU Member States, women who are currently in receipt of pensions, receive average amounts which are 39% lower than those of men. For Ireland, the report indicates this pensions gender gap is 35%.
The report considers total income received from all sources including State, occupational and private pensions. I am pleased to note that for those on modest levels of income, which would broadly include the State pension, the report details that the gender pensions gap in Ireland is considerably lower at 3.5% compared to the EU average of 48.7%. This indicates that the Irish State pension has been successful in providing citizens with a basic level of income in a more gender balanced manner than our European counterparts.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.