Imposition of mandatory retirement age is wrong - Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D
Speaking during the course of a debate on the Sinn Féin sponsored Employment Equality Bill, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin T.D., Sinn Féin spokesperson for Older People, said that acceptance and support for the Bill, which ultimately aims to end discrimination and give older workers a choice when it comes to their retirement, was a ‘no brainer’.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said;
“I am sure every Deputy and Senator elected to these houses has been approached by people who have been forced to leave their jobs as soon as they reach the age of 65 or maybe even younger than that. 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. The employee should have the right to choose when he or she will retire, not the employer.
“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. The experience and wealth of knowledge held by an older person at work can be taught to younger workers coming in.
“There is no doubt but that one of the greatest challenges facing us as a country is sustaining the State Pension into the future. 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. As it stands, 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.
“Iarraim ar gach Teachta vóta a chaitheamh ar son an Bille seo. Vote in favour of this Bill and let us ensure that this anomaly is closed once and for all.”