The European Commission has requested Ireland to ensure that people who qualify for Carer's Allowance under Irish social security law can obtain it even if they reside in another member state.

Carer's Allowance is a payment to people on low incomes who are looking after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness including mental illness.

One of the requirements for entitlement is that the recipient is resident in Ireland.

Today the European Commission announced that by refusing to provide this allowance to people who live in other member states but pay their social security contributions in Ireland, Ireland is in breach of EU rules on social security coordination.

The request takes the form of a "reasoned opinion" under EU infringement procedures.

The Government now has two months to notify the commission of measures taken to fully implement EU rules.

Otherwise, the commission may decide to refer Ireland to the EU's Court of Justice.