Three Irish nuns' Portuguese pensions restored after ombudsman intervenes
THREE Irish nuns whose Portuguese pension entitlements were stopped when they returned home have had the payments restored after an ombudsman intervened.
The nuns had returned to Ireland after spending decades in Portugal providing education and care to disadvantaged people.
They had been without pension payments from Portuguese state authorities for more than six months when they complained to the Republic's Ombudsman.
Peter Tyndall used the European Ombudsman Network to contact his Portuguese counterpart and eventually restore the payments to the nuns.
The issue arose as Portuguese authorities normally pay pensions directly into personal bank accounts, but upon returning to Ireland the nuns needed their pensions paid to their religious congregation as they no longer had personal accounts.
"The religious congregation in Ireland explained to the ombudsman that they had great difficulties trying to resolve the problem with the Portuguese authorities as they received no replies to their letters, emails and phone calls," an ombudsman's office spokesman said.
"The Irish Ombudsman contacted the Portuguese Ombudsman who, in turn, contacted the Portuguese pension authorities. The Irish Ombudsman arranged for a series of documents and declarations to be sent to the Portuguese Ombudsman.
"Finally the Portuguese pension authorities agreed to pay the pension entitlements and the arrears that were due to the nuns."