Pension Reform and Mandatory Retirement

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business]

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business seeking the attendance of the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection in the House today to outline a timeline on the critical issue of pension reform in light of the data which came out today from the Pensions Authority. Can anyone imagine how absurd it would be if the State enshrined, as part of its policy, an enforcement that people who were in employment were forced to resign and go on social welfare? Can anyone imagine the State telling people we would prefer if they quit their jobs and go on social welfare?

We are doing this every day in our public service, where we have mandatory irrational anachronistic retirement ages enforced on people that bear absolutely no resemblance either to the realities of the health status of people over 60 or 65 years of age compared to the time 140 years ago when the notions of retirement and an old age pension were first introduced.

As well as that, there is no recognition of the reality that we are entering a contract with people who are in the public service now, telling them that we will give them pensions that we cannot give them because the money ain’t there. It has come out today from the Pensions Authority that there is potentially a €440 billion long-term pension entitlement which we have exactly zero ability to sustain in the long term. We rank 20 out of 25 countries surveyed by an international pensions survey on the issue of the sustainability of our pension scheme.

It is not a case of taking something away from people by telling them they will not have to retire at 65 years. We are not enforcing a mandate that a person cannot retire at 65 years, but the idea that there are plenty of people who would prefer to be on the plus side of the worker-dependent ratio is concerning and it runs the risk of completely unravelling any growth or recovery in our economy in the years to come. There is no question of taking away the opportunity and the right for them to do it.

I have seen this many times in the health service. People who were doing onerous busy jobs, seeing patients, doing operations and running research programmes one day and the next day they were coming in to clear their desk, because someone told them arbitrarily that it was time for them to become a dependent on the State. Many of them have gone on to other jobs in the State employ with their original pension.

As well as that, it is relevant to what we are hearing about Irish Water. How many of the people at senior levels in Irish Water in public relations and other areas are already in receipt of State pensions? ………….. The whole system is insane……… I will call for a vote to ask the Minister for Social Protection to come to the House to address the matter because this is a national emergency. It may not look like an emergency beside the next election but it certainly will be one.

Comments
One Response to “Pension Reform and Mandatory Retirement”
  1. Eileen OSullivan says:

    Very True. It cannot be overstated the time bomb that we are facing for public and private (underfunded) pensions. Series of Ministers with relatively short time spans in office do not appear to see the merit in address this oncoming disaster. In fact, the current Minister of Finance has ruthlessly and insidiously pillaged private pension funds in recent years. If you need any background data or info on pensions, Jerry Moriarity of the IAPF would be a good go to person. Best regards Eileen Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:37:22 +0000 To: eileen.m.osullivan@hotmail.com

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