Dáil Éireann - Volume 426 - 16 February, 1993
Written Answers. - Equality of Access to Benefits.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
34. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Social Welfare the proposals, if any, he has to give greater equality in access to benefits to widowers and separated fathers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Provision was made in the 1989 Social Welfare Act to extend the widow's (non-contributory) pension scheme to cover widowers with dependent children. Prior to that there had been no specific schemes for widowers. This was expanded in the 1990 Social Welfare Act by the introduction of the lone parents allowance which made provision for the various categories of lone parents including both widowers and separated fathers.
The social insurance schemes for widows and deserted wives do not apply to men. The cost of extending to widowers and deserted husbands the present social insurance arrangements for widows and deserted wives is estimated to be in the region of up to £50 million in a full year.
The question of social insurance cover  for people in these situations is being examined by the national pensions board in the context of its proposals for a new national pensions system. I expect to receive the board's report shortly and the matter will then be given further consideration.
Dáil Éireann 426 Written Answers. Equality of Access to Benefits.