Senator Ivana Bacik: I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." I am delighted to be here to propose this Bill. I welcome the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Leo Varadkar, to the House. I have received an indication from the Government that it will not be opposing this Bill on Second Stage. I am very grateful for and delighted about that news. I acknowledge the presence in the Visitors Gallery of Dr. David Parris and Mr. Gerhard Scully and I thank them for being here to support the Bill and for their bravery and courage in raising publicly the important equality issue it seeks to address. The Bill is the Pensions (Equal Pension Treatment in Occupational Benefit Scheme) (Amendment) Bill 2016. I am delighted to be proposing it on behalf of Labour Party Senators. My colleague, Senator Ged Nash, will be seconding it and Senator Kevin Humphreys will be speaking on it. We are putting it forward as a Labour Party Private Members' Bill. We acknowledge the legal expertise and help provided on the Bill by our drafter, Mr. Finbarr O'Malley, and also by Professor Robert Wintemute of King's College, London, who has given us some very important legal input on the Bill. I also acknowledge the support of Ms Marguerite Bolger, senior counsel, who acted in the legal case that forms the impetus for the Bill. Let me outline the background to the Bill. It seeks to address the very small number of cases in which retired employees who, because of their sexual orientation, were not legally permitted to marry the person they desired to marry before a particular date were deprived of certain pension or survivor benefits as a result. It was drafted, as I have said, in response to a particular case which I know the Minister is aware of, namely, the case of David Parris v. Trinity College Dublin before the European Court of Justice. Judgment was given on 24 November 2016. In that case, David Parris had argued that the Trinity pension scheme was discriminatory as it provided that a Trinity employee's partner would only be entitled to a survivor's pension where the employee had married or entered a civil partnership before reaching the age of 60. The Bill seeks to address the issue that arose in that case. It will provide that if a pension scheme makes a survivor's pension entitlement dependent on the employee having married or entered civil partnership before a certain age, this would breach the principle of equal pension treatment on the sexual orientation ground where the reason the employee did not comply with the requirement was because he or she was legally incapable of marrying prior to the entry into force of civil partnership law.
Before I turn to the provisions of the Bill I will outline the facts of the Parris case in a little more detail. The applicant had been living for over 30 years in a stable relationship with his partner. His employer's pension scheme provided for the payment of a survivor's pension to the spouse or civil partner of a member. However, the survivor's pension was payable only if the member had married or entered into a civil partnership before reaching the age of 60.
This Bill seeks to address the small number of cases where retired employees who were legally not permitted to marry persons of the same sex before a particular date may be deprived of certain pension benefits.
Trinity College Dublin organised an event last week 'Meet the Candidates', where all 16 #TCDSeanadElection candidates were given 4 minutes each to speak to the audience. It was also live streamed on Periscoope TV for anyone who couldn't make it.
I took the opportunity to run through my Trinity life, my legal career and my Seanad record. Here are my 4 minutes - #VoteIvanaBacik No.1
Senator Jillian van Turnhout lends her support for my Seanad Election campaign!
Children's Rights advocate and 'Politician of the Year 2015', Senator Jillian van Turnhout lends her support to Ivana Bacik who is running for the Dublin University Panel in the Seanad Election 2016. #SE16 #TCDSeanad #UseYourVote
A huge thanks to Jillian for her endorsement! It's been an enormous pleasure and honour to work together over the past 5 years and I have no doubt we'll get the opportunity to work collaboratively again in the future. Many thanks, Ivana.
From the Archives: Hot Press - HP Interview: Ivana Bacik, 12 May 2004
More from the archives and more from Hot press magazine, with links to several articles in the same year. This time unlike my 1997 interview I have entered my hat into the political election arena and ran in the hugely contested European elections of 2004. A disappointing year as it was the same election we lost the Citizenship Referendum.
From the Archives: Hot Press - 'Bacik to Basics' 23rd July 1997
Here is an article from 1997 courtesy of 'Hot Press' magazine, highlighting some of the starting points of my political activism and before entering the politcal representative arena, little did I know?! But I've revived this piece as it captures the essence of why I got involved in politics in the first place - to make a difference, to put equality on the agenda and keep it there! It frustrates me greatly of course that 27 years later and we're still fighting for abortion rights, but we must not give up till women stop dying or being forced into heartbreaking, potentially dangerous and vulnerable positions due to the lack of free, safe and legal access. I hope you'll give me your No. 1 Vote and I assure you I'll be campaiging hard to Repeal the Eighth Amendment as well as other existing inequalities.
Youtube: Sen. Ivana Bacik running for Seanad Election 2016
Earlier today I joined fellow Dublin University/Trinity College Dublin Panel #SeanadElection candidates in Trinity Academic Registry. There are a total of 15 candidates running and it's going to be a tough one! I hope you'll consider giving me your No.1 Vote!
Here is a short video clip. Feel free to watch and share. All support welcome!