Belfast Telegraph

UK and Ireland guarantee welfare payments in event of no-deal

The UK and Irish Governments have guaranteed the continued payment of pensions, child benefit and other social welfare payments if the UK crashes out of the EU. (stock photo)
The UK and Irish Governments have guaranteed the continued payment of pensions, child benefit and other social welfare payments if the UK crashes out of the EU. (stock photo)

By Charlie Weston

The UK and Irish Governments have guaranteed the continued payment of pensions, child benefit and other social welfare payments if the UK crashes out of the EU.

Thousands of people living in the Republic get pensions and other payments from Britain, while Dublin also pays out the like of widow's pensions to people who live in the UK.

Now a legally binding agreement has been signed by London and Dublin.

It is estimated that around 133,000 people living in the Republic, mainly Irish citizens, receive pensions from the UK.

And the Irish Government pays contributory pensions to 29,000 people living in Britain.

Irish Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty and her UK counterpart Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, signed a convention at the start of the month to ensure the "reciprocity of social welfare rights and entitlements".

These rights currently exist under what is known as the Common Travel Area.

Ms Doherty said: "Under the terms of the agreement all existing arrangements, with recognition of, and access to, social welfare entitlements will be maintained in both jurisdictions.

"This means that the rights of Irish citizens domiciled in Ireland to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in the UK and to access social insurance payments if resident in the UK are protected."

The Department for Work and Pensions did not issue a statement.

Irish contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit were discussed at yesterday's Cabinet meeting in Dublin. Ministers discussed 16 different pieces of legislation across nine departments designed for a no-deal Brexit, which will be published on Friday.

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: "It will do things like protect cross-border health services so that children will be able to continue to come to Dublin for specialist paediatric care. It will also ensure that British students in Ireland will continue to be treated as citizens almost in this country and vice versa for Irish students in the UK. It also does things we never thought we would have to do, like put a legislative base in place for someone to get on a train in Dublin to go to Belfast, because they will be travelling out of the EU and into a third country and back again."

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