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Getting Auto Enrolment right will be key to ensure greater security in retirement – Claire Kerrane TD

29 March, 2022 - by Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has today responded to the Government’s plan for establishing an Auto Enrolment pension scheme, over twenty years after it was first suggested.

Speaking this morning, Teachta Kerrane said:

“I welcome the fact that details have now been published as to what Auto Enrolment will look like four years after the initial Strawman was published and submissions were sought. I welcome many elements of the plans announced today, including the use of an online portal so Workers can clearly see the benefit of being part of the Scheme, and the pot following the worker approach.

"Ireland has stood out in many reports for many years for not having Auto Enrolment or a similar pension savings scheme for workers. With more and more older people relying on the State Pension in retirement, it is essential that we get Auto Enrolment right to ensure the State Pension is supplemented and greater financial security in retirement.

“In our submission back in 2018, we proposed that the State should play a lead role at the heart of the Auto Enrolment Scheme and we had proposed that the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) would be central to this in managing these funds and investing them to the benefit of Citizens. 

“Rather than focusing on their own profits the NTMA would prioritise the financial well-being of citizens’ contributions to ensure their comfort in their old age. They could also ensure that money in the fund is put to work for Ireland e.g. by investing in green energy and housing projects.

“We have seen the impact of previous pension disasters, such as has been the case with Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Pension Schemes where Workers have been left at the mercy of the market and in some cases, have been left extremely vulnerable with Employers walking away. The Government must therefore, ensure the robust management of the fund, to ensure employees are protected.

"Having said that, it is questionable on first glance at Government plans, that it appears contributions will be collected and handed over to the private pension industry. I would be concerned as to the security and transparency around this.

"It is so important that we get Auto Enrolment right if it is to reward workers and greatly improve their lives post retirement."

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