Pension fears for West Cork's residents from UK

August 20th, 2018 1:03 PM

By Brian Moore

Retired UK citizens living in West Cork, but are now resident here, could face losing their pension payment as a no-deal Brexit looms. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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ALMOST 2,000 retired UK citizens living in West Cork, and many other nationalities who worked in the UK, but are now resident here, could face losing their pension payment as a no-deal Brexit looms.

Approximately 120,000 Irish people benefit from British pension payments after spending years working and living in the UK. 

However, these payments could be at risk, with some financial experts advising pensioners to set up UK bank accounts.

As it stands, as a member of the European Union, those who have worked and gained pension rights, both private or public, within the UK, are entitled to have their pension paid into any bank account within the EU. 

However, most financial institutions are at a loss as to how this is going to work when Britain leaves next March 29th.

These pension regulations will also affect the almost 2,000 UK residents, many of whom are retired, living in West Cork. 

As recorded in Census 2016 there has been a decrease in the number of British people living in West Cork, down by 450 (a decrease of 9%), but an increase in the number of other EU nationals moving to West Cork, up by 10% – or 470 people.  A number of Irish pensioners have received letters from UK-based pension providers advising them to open bank accounts in the UK to avoid losing payments. 

They suggest they may not be able to continue paying out to overseas bank accounts after Britain leaves the EU next year. 

Tim Coffey of Coffey Financial in Clonakilty said: ‘What is clear at this point is that we just don’t know what is going to happen. It’s already difficult enough for UK citizens living here to transfer private pension funds from the UK to Ireland. In fact, there are only two Irish insurance providers that are willing to deal with pension transfers. As for the situation after Brexit, there is the potential for a major problem for both private and public UK pensioners. But at this moment, we just don’t know what the impact will be.’ 

What is clear is that an Irish person cannot open a UK bank account without a UK address, a situation which has yet to be addressed by the British or EU Brexit negotiators.

Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) said: ‘I am confident that this issue will be sorted out before the UK leaves the EU. People’s pension payments need to protected and this is another worry for many in the community.’

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