Court upholds decision to refuse Romanian woman's application for State pension

At issue in this case was whether Ms Mocanu was required under EU law to have relied on her daughter while in Romania to obtain a right of residence or whether dependency only while in Ireland sufficed.
Court upholds decision to refuse Romanian woman's application for State pension

High court reporters

The High Court has upheld a decision refusing an application for the non-contributory State pension from a Romanian woman who failed to prove a right of residence in Ireland.

Ms Justice Niamh Hyland ruled that Cornelia Mocanu (68) must fail in her appeal as she was not dependent on her adult daughter prior to residing in Ireland, so she could not qualify for the pension.

A European Union citizen has the right to remain in another Member State if they are working or have health insurance and money to support themselves. A dependent family member can join an EU citizen who has a right of residence.

At issue in this case was whether Ms Mocanu, who joined her daughter in Ireland in 2011, was required under EU law to have relied on her daughter while in Romania to obtain a right of residence or whether dependency only while in Ireland sufficed.

Ms Justice Hyland was satisfied that the correct legal interpretation requires the dependent to have been reliant in the home country prior to joining the person exercising their free movement rights in the new EU country.

In March 2020, a social welfare officer refused Ms Mocanu’s application for the non-contributory State pension after finding, among other things, that she had failed to prove a right of residence here that would entitle her to receive a social assistance payment.

An appeals officer upheld this decision, noting Ms Mocanu’s spouse and son live in Romania, where weekly pensions of €25.50 and €58 are payable to her and her spouse.

Ms Mocanu stated that she supported herself in Romania by working and owned an apartment in Constanta.

Ms Justice Hyland said a person who becomes dependent only after arriving in the host Member State is not considered to be dependent within the meaning of the EU Citizenship Directive.

The Court of Justice of the European Union brought clarity to the interpretation of the Directive that is “fatal” to Ms Mocanu’s case, the judge said.

She dismissed the appeal.

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