Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Questions (249)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

249. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which previous arrangements in respect of applicants for the State pension (contributory) continue to qualify and benefit from joint contributions in the UK and here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50629/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My key area of concern is the impact of Brexit on the reciprocal arrangements for social insurance (which includes pensions) and social assistance (means tested schemes linked to residency rights) and child benefit between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Post-Brexit, including in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Irish and British citizens will continue to enjoy the right to travel, live and work between the UK and Ireland in the same manner as before. This is because of a long-standing arrangement known as the Common Travel Area (CTA). The CTA pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. Both the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom are committed to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect on the 8 May 2019.

As part of that commitment, the Government also entered into a Convention on Social Security with the Government of the United Kingdom signed on the 1st February 2019. Under the terms of the agreement, Irish and British citizens living in either country will maintain the right to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in either country and to access social insurance payments, such as state pension (contributory), in either country. This arrangement will be in place as required, that is, either at the end of the transition period if the UK leaves the EU on the basis of an agreement or immediately in a no deal scenario.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.