The state pension age a bone of contention for Irish political parties

22 January 2020

Ahead of Ireland’s upcoming general election on Saturday 8 February, the main political parties all appear to have conflicting views on the state pension age, with some welcoming an increase to the age but with others outwardly rejecting it.

The incumbent party, Fine Gael, intend for the state pension age to increase from the current age of 66 to 67 in 2021. They also plan to oversee a further uplift to the age of 68 by 2028.

Many workers have voiced their concerns at the plans, as some are in jobs that will force them to retire at 65, which will leave them reliant on jobseekers’ allowance for two years, which is a substantial period of time.

Pensions Age reported that Leo Varadker, Irish Prime Minister and leader of Fine Gael, stated that it would be “irresponsible” not to increase the state pension age to 67, and explained the rationale behind this:

 “If pensions are going to be sustainable into the future, we will need to increase the pension age in line with life expectancy but what we’re hearing from people on the ground and at the doors is that there are some anomalies that need to be fixed.

And one of those anomalies in my view is people who are required to retire before the age of 66, or even before the age of 67, and what we have proposed to do there is bring in a transition pension or an early retirement pension, like existed in the past for those who are contractually required to retire earlier.”

 Michael Martin, leader of the opposition party, Fianna Fail, confirmed that if his party were elected, he would “seek to outlaw contracts that would force people to retire at 65.” He does not believe that having people in limbo for two years is sustainable.

Ireland’s Labour party are completely opposed to increasing the state pension age at all. In fact, Sinn Fein is dedicated to reducing the state pension age to 65 and has put forward a bill that prevents any increases.

A Sunday Times poll revealed that Fianna Fail is currently ahead of Fine Gael, with the former favoured by 32% and the latter voted for by 20%. The CIPP will report on the outcome of the election once it has been confirmed in February of this year.


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