Radical pension reform needed - Reilly
Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has called for urgent reform of the pension system. The call was made during a Seanad debate on the recently released OECD report on the Irish pension system.
Senator Reilly said:
“The OECD report confirms once again what we have known for a long time. The pension system in this state is in crisis.
“One in ten pensioners live at risk of poverty. If the state pension was removed 88% of pensioners would live in poverty.
“Just half of the current workforce is covered by private and occupational pensions. Many of these schemes, particularly defined benefit schemes, are in deficit. Some are close to collapse.
“Our pension protection system is almost non-existent, as we saw recently in the Waterford Crystal Case. The regulation of the private pension industry is still a major problem.
“The centre piece of government pensions policy continues to be wasteful and unfair tax breaks.
“This system is broken. We urgently need radical pension reform.
“The state pension must be increased to 40% of average industrial earnings and universalised to ensure that no pensioner lives in poverty.
“We need a mandatory public pension system for all workers not in private schemes to ensure that people have a real chance to provide the additional savings needed to give them some measure of comfort in their later years.
“We need an end to the grossly wasteful and unfair pension tax relief system.
“And we need tighter regulation of private pension funds to limit the levels of risk involved, reign in excessive charges and ensure adequate protection.
“This is a tall order, but now is the time for government to act.”