Age Action has called for the abolition of mandatory retirement ages ahead of a meeting with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence this afternoon.
The meeting is being held to discuss the Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement) Bill 2014, proposed by Deputy Anne Ferris.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Mandatory retirement is simply age discrimination, forcing someone out of a job because they’ve reached some arbitrary age set by their employer.
“People retiring today are expected, on average, to live 20 years or more. The number of people aged over 65 is going to almost treble in the next thirty years. “If someone wants to work and can do the job, why should they be forced out because they turn 65?”
The legislation proposed by Deputy Ferris would also help to eliminate the growing problem of workers being forced to retire before they become eligible for the State Pension at the age of 66.
Angela Gallagher faced serious hardship after being forced from her job with the Revenue Commissioners at the age of 65: “I was trying to repay a mortgage to the bank and a loan to the credit union at the same time. It was extremely difficult to keep going.
“I had to cut right back. I got rid of my telephone, got rid of my television and did anything I could do to save money. There were months when I didn’t know how I was going to pay the bank, when I worried whether I would be able to keep my home.
“The thing that annoys me the most is that none of this was necessary. I wanted to work and I was able to work. I liked what I did and I was good at it. If I hadn’t been forced out of my job I would have been able to work until I was secure.”
Justin Moran continued: “Mandatory retirement was abolished in Britain in 2011 because they recognised the contribution older people can make to the economy and the madness of forcing experienced, capable people out of their jobs and onto the dole.
“It’s time we saw the same sensible approach adopted in Ireland and we hope all parties will support older workers, reject age discrimination and support this legislation through the Oireachtas.”