Mandatory retirement ages ‘wrong’ – Ó Caoláin
Speaking this afternoon on the Sinn Féin sponsored PMB on Pension Equality and Fairness, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Disability Rights and Older People Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD focused on the need for the Government to reinstate the State Pension (Transition) so that workers can once again have the option of retiring when they reach 65 years of age with the support of a pension.
Deputy Ó Caoláin made reference to instances that have been brought to his attention where people were being forced to retire at the age of 65 despite their willingness to continue to work and with little regard being paid to the financial obligations of the individuals who simply cannot afford to be unemployed and with no pension entitlement.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“It is wrong that Irish law currently permits employers to impose mandatory retirement ages in their employee’s contracts, in effect, facilitating ageism and creating a set of second-class employment rights for older workers. This should not be allowed happen.
“An argument used to support the current legal provision is that if people retire at an earlier age there will be more youth employment. Such statements have been dismissed time and time again.
“From a financial perspective, it is not in the countries interest to allow employers to impose this mandatory retirement age. A worker forced into retirement at the age of 65 is entitled to a Jobseeker’s Benefit of €188 at the maximum rate until he or she turns 66. Financially, it makes sense for an older worker to continue to contribute to the Exchequer instead of receiving payments from it.
“By 2046, 1.4 million people will be aged over 65, compared to the 530,000 that were recorded in the last census; a staggering increase. However, we should see this, improved health and longevity, as an opportunity as well as a challenge, with older people contributing to our society.”