Belfast Telegraph

Rethink on police widow pensions

Police widows in Northern Ireland who had their pensions stopped upon remarriage are to get the payment reinstated, the Policing Board has announced.

The change will apply to widows or widowers whose late spouses died in service from January 1, 1989 and those who retired on or after that date and subsequently died.

The payments were halted under the terms of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Pension Regulations in 1988.

It is understood the cost of reinstatement could run into several million pounds.

A Policing Board spokeswoman said Stormont's Department of Justice would also explore the possibility of extending this provision to pre-1988 Royal Ulster Constabulary pension schemes.

Widows and widowers whose pension award was similarly terminated under the rules of either the RUC Pension Regulations 1973 or the RUC Pension Regulations 1949 are asked to register an interest with the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) Pensions Branch in advance of the consideration by Justice Minister David Ford.

Notice of the change regarding the 1988 scheme is being placed in newspapers and online in a bid to raise awareness.

Chairman of the RUC George Cross Foundation Brian Rea welcomed the move.

"This is very good news for the entire police family and the RUC GC Foundation welcomes the announcement," he said.

"It is recognition of the contribution made to this community by police officers and their families.

"We would hope that the change will be extended to include pre-1988 RUC pension schemes."

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