Government must do the right thing and defer pension age increase urgently – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane, TD, has urged the Government to ensure the pension age is not increased to 67.
Her comments come as the cabinet is due to discuss a formal memo on the establishment of a Pensions Commission today.
Teachta Kerrane said: “I am absolutely clear that the pension age cannot be raised. Everyone should have the right to retire at 65.
“Sinn Féin have always been very clear and firm on this. People need to have peace of mind that they can retire at a reasonable age if they wish.
“The Government shouldn’t need a Commission to tell them to do the right thing. They should act now to protect workers by ensuring there is no age increase.
“This Commission cannot be used as a talking shop for the Government to shift the responsibility for dealing with this issue.
“I have questioned the Minister on this issue repeatedly. I have been deeply concerned that we are nearing closer and closer to January, yet we still have not seen the legislation to defer the pension age increase to 67 which is due to take effect then.
“This has been a worry for those approaching 66 early next year, as they are unsure whether they would receive their State Pension or not. We need to see the legislation deferring this increase urgently, so people can have peace of mind.
“I have also asked the Minister to ensure that there is a trade union official on the Commission to represent workers and I understand that SIPTU had requested that a member of the #STOP67 group be included. This is something we support. Workers’ voices must be central to this discussion.
“This Commission should also be looking at ending the scandal of 65 year olds being put on a jobseekers payment after a lifetime of work. It must also look at ending mandatory retirement and ensuring that those who wish to remain at work beyond 65, where they are willing and able to do so, should be allowed to do so. Nobody should be contractually obliged to retire at 65 because of their age.
“The Commission is due to produce a report in June on what the pension age should be. It is important that this matter is carefully studied and based on evidence rather than cost saving measures, as the planned pension age increases had been.
“It is also of paramount importance that the Commission’s work is transparent. I will continue to work constructively on this issue to ensure that the Government is held to account and that workers receive fair treatment.”