(Wednesday 16 June) The deferral of the pension age increase to 67 contained in the Programme for Government has been welcomed by the Stop67 campaign.
Ethel Buckley, Deputy General Secretary of SIPTU said: “During the recent general election there was widespread opposition to the proposed increase in the pension age. Almost 80 per cent of voters supported parties which were committed to stopping the increase in the pension age to 67 next year. The vindication of this democratic demand in the proposed Programme for Government is welcomed. It is only through genuine social dialogue and consensus that we can develop a socially beneficial and fiscally sustainable pension system.”
The Stop67 campaign will seek a meeting with the incoming Minister for Social Protection at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the remit and composition of the proposed commission into the issue of the pension age. Before the general election the campaign called for a properly constituted Stakeholders Forum with the full participation of representatives of employees, employers and relevant civil society organisations. It said the commission should consider not only the issue of the pension age but related issues such as the mandatory retirement age, pension adequacy and flexibility.
National Women’s Council of Ireland Director, Orla O’Connor, said: “Access to State pensions is a core issue for women’s equality. Women rely on the state pension for the vast majority of their income in older age and anything that impacts on state pensions disproportionally impacts on women. NWCI welcomes the commitment to a review of the State pension, and to not raise the pension age.”
Maureen Kavanagh, CEO, Active Retirement Ireland said: “Active Retirement Ireland welcomes the commitment in the proposed Programme for Government that the pension age will not increase in 2021, but we await reassurance that a stakeholder forum will be convened to map out how Ireland will manage demographic change in the fairest possible manner.”
Paddy Connolly CEO, Age Action said: “We need evidenced based policies that responds to the needs of people who are affected by them, which is why broad stakeholder participation in their design and implementation is critical. Older people are not an homogenous group; some people may want to continue working longer, others won’t have the choice because they are unable or can’t afford not to work. All of these issues that face older workers need to be considered for the pension system to work for them.”