This is a frightening prospect for the thousands who have worked in Britain
IN COMMON with many people in this country, both my parents worked in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. My late father spent 10 years as a radio officer in the British merchant navy. For this he got a good defined benefit pension when he hit 65. He was also entitled to a British state pension.
My mother, a nurse, did her midwifery training in Scotland and worked there when she was qualified as a midwife. This entitles her to a British state pension. She gets a sterling amount paid into her AIB bank account here every month, and we file a tax return for this, for her, every November.
There are thousands of people in this country who are in receipt of pensions from their time working in bars, on the roads, in the hospitals, on the buses and in the offices of England, Scotland and Wales.
It is known that around 120,000 Irish people are in receipt of a British state pension.
Many more are entitled to one but may not be drawing it down because they are not aware they could get it.
There are no clear figures on the numbers also getting private pensions paid to them, which would include both Irish and British nationals.
Now it has emerged that Brexit poses a threat to these pension arrangements.
A leading pension provider has written to its Irelandbased members warning them it may no longer be able to make payments into bank accounts in this country once the UK leaves the European Union, which is scheduled for next March.
The Association of British Insurers has issued similar warnings.
The insurer, Pension Insurance Corporation, has explained that it is currently using EU “passporting” arrangements that allows British firms to provide financial services, such as paying a pension overseas, to anywhere in the EU.
It advises its members here to open a UK bank account. But that is not something that is possible you do not have a UK address.
This is a frightening prospect.
It means people here may no longer have their pension paid into an Irish bank account. Instead, the payments would be paid into a UK bank, which they will not be able to access unless they have a UK account.
As this issue is set to affect retired British people living in the EU, the hope is a last-minute deal will be done to sort it out.
Although there has been a lot of incompetence shown in the UK’s Brexit preparations so far, sense will just have to prevail and a deal of some sort will be done.
It could be that pension cheques will be posted here for a period if a deal is not done by the time Brexit happens.
For now though, there is no need to panic. if