RUC widows to benefit from pension regulation changes

Jim Allister
Jim Allister

All RUC widows will now receive the same pension rights as those bereaved since the formation of the PSNI, following a TUV-proposed amendment to the regulations.

Under the old rules governing public service pensions, anyone widowed before 1988 would automatically lose their police pension if they remarried.

There is a discrepancy in that the rules post-1988 make provision for the continuation of life-long pension benefits to be paid to the spouse or partner of a police officer even after they remarry.

In the Assembly chamber last night, TUV leader Jim Allister’s proposed change to the Public Service Pensions Bill was passed unopposed.

From July 1, the amendment will also restore lost pensions to widows – including RUC widows bereaved through terrorism – who had remarried under the old rules.

Mr Allister said: “I see this not just as an issue of bringing equality to all police widows, but as also doing something else, after Ann’s Law, for innocent victims. In 2014 there could, in my view, be no justification for treating the RUC widow differently and less fairly within the police family.”

Mr Allister said many widows had been lobbying MPs and others for years in the hope of a better deal.

“I also note from some DUP contributions that some of their MPs and MEP have been trying to resolve this issue, but without success.

“Interesting then that once again, as with the SPAD problem, it was TUV that found the solution,” he added.