Limerick widows fight for husbands' pensions

Group believe they have been left 'short-changed' by the council

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick widows fight for husbands' pensions

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said that he supports Siptu’s move to represent the widows

A NUMBER of widows believe they have been left “short-changed” after their late husbands, who dedicated a “lifetime of service” to Limerick City Council, were not paid their full pension entitlements, Siptu have said.

This follows Limerick City and County Council’s decision to include overtime in workers’ entitlements, following a five-year campaign by the cleaning department and a number of unsuccessful Labour Court battles.

Siptu is now representing two city women, who believe they should benefit from payments that their late husbands did not receive as a result of overtime being omitted from their pension plan.

Limerick’s Siptu representative, Ger Kennedy said that recent legislation changes in social welfare can allow a retired member of staff or next-of-kin “can take a case if they believe that they were short-changed in respect of pension entitlements”.

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said that he supports Siptu’s move to represent the widows.

“Siptu are adamant that they would be entitled to it, so I would go with Siptu’s judgement on that.

“And if there are widows out there who should have been given a proper pension entitlement, then they should be entitled to that.”

Party colleague Sen Paul Gavan welcomed the council’s decision.

“At the end of the day, there is a responsibility on public officials to do what is right, and it should not have taken this long. It was five years of waiting. Council workers have passed on during this time, and that is not right. A lifetime of service to Limerick Council deserves a better reward than that.”

He added: “This is a really significant result, because it won’t just affect the finances of these workers, this has implications across every council across the State.” 

In 2012, pensioner Christy Young was successful after bringing his case to the Rights Commissioner. The Labour Court ruled in his favour after the council appealed the decision. Siptu was then called in to mediate the issue, which once again ruled in Mr Young’s favour.

At least three other retired workers had to bring similar cases forward as each case had to be decided separately.

Mr Kennedy told the Limerick Leader this week: “I think when the second Labour Court decision came out, that was the writing on the wall for the council, to be quite honest. They were not in a position to contest it any further.”

Mr Kennedy said at a Siptu meeting this Monday that Mr Young “deserved the highest praise” for starting the campaign.