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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 30 Jan 2002

Vol. 547 No. 1

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Denis Naughten


1365 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to address the anomaly whereby teachers who were forced to retire due to marriage are ineligible for a contributory old age pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2588/02]

An old age contributory pension is payable by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs to a person who has reached age 66 and satisfies the contribution requirements. These include the requirement that the person must have paid a minimum number of full rate social insurance contributions over the course of their working life to age 66. Prior to the introduction of full rate social insurance for public servants in 1995, pensionable teachers paid PRSI at a modified rate. Modified contributions do not help teachers, or public servants generally, to meet the contribution condition for old age contributory pension to which I have referred but give teachers cover for widows' or widowers' contributory pension and orphans' contributory allowance.

A female teacher who retired on marriage from pensionable teaching service and who had at least 5 years of such service was eligible for the receipt of a marriage gratuity. It is an obsolete superannuation benefit which was available to teachers who entered service in the 1960s and earlier. A teacher who returned to teaching after marriage could re-instate her earlier service by repaying the marriage gratuity together with compound interest where applicable. Rather than return to teaching, it was also, of course, open to her to engage in employment outside the public service in respect of which social insurance contributions at the full rate were payable.