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National Pensions Framework

National Pensions Framework Announced!

Following the launch of the long awaited National Pensions Framework, by Minister Hanafin today at Government Buildings, Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) welcomed the Framework but expressed her concern over the increase in the minimum age for the non-contributory State pension.

The Parliament has always been of the view that any increase in the age of retirement should be voluntary with choices available to the person based on what is best for them.

While we support the option to allow people to continue working longer, the mandatory age increase may not fully take the individual health and well-being of Older People into consideration.

Anna O’Farrell, Chairperson of the ISCP’s Pensions Committee, said that what was really needed was a sustainable contributory pension scheme with state guarantees to provide a pension of 50% of gross average industrial earnings on retirement rather than the 35% recommended in the Framework.

If the state can guarantee the banks, why can they not guarantee pensions?

asked Ms O’Farrell.

Ms. Hayes pointed out that there is a cumulative impact from a number of recent government decisions which together are increasing the risk of poverty amongst Older People in Ireland.

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament recommended in their submission to the Green Paper on Pensions that

Mandatory occupational pensions should be offered to all staff and staff should not be able to opt out.

We invite public participation in this debate – come to www.seniors.ie and let us know what you think

concluded Ms Hayes.

Proposed Pension Age Increase

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is concerned that the reported increase in the minimum age for the non-contributory State pension might not fully take the individual health & well-being of Older People into consideration.

Responding to the press reports arising from the upcoming launch of the Government’s “National Pensions Framework” and Bank of Ireland’s announcement that it may raise its retirement age to 68, Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Parliament said that any change to retirement age must be gradual & must take the circumstances of the individual Older Person into account.

Minister of Social & Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin warned last October that the Government might raise the pension age. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announced in Budget 2010 that future public servants would not qualify for a full pension until the age of 66, while the Dept. of Finance has indicated that the retirement age could be set at 70 for public servants. This was also an option mentioned in the McCarthy Report.

The ISCP welcomes the clarification by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, on the other hand, that there are no immediate plans to increase the existing retirement age for either public or private sector workers.  In particular we note his statement that the Pension Framework

would be a ‘very long-term framework’, setting out Government thinking on pensions and retirement age.

Continuing Máiréad Hayes pointed out that there is a cumulative impact from a number of recent government decisions all of which are increasing the risk of poverty amongst Older People in Ireland. Pensions & retirement must be agreed in a coherent fashion and any changes must take both short-term & long-term objectives into consideration.

We have today initiated public participation in this debate on our website – come to www.seniors.ie and let us know your views

concluded Ms Hayes.

The Statistics:

People are living longer. The average Irishman lives to 77, the average Irishwoman to 82.

The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland predicts that the number of people aged 75 and over will hit one million by 2041. That is three times more than the current figure.

Some Issues to consider:

Retirement Age in Ireland according to Citizens’ Information

  • At the moment, most occupational pension schemes allow workers to retire at the age of 65, while the state contributory pension is paid from age 66.
  • A state transition pension is paid from 65 years for those who retire before 66.
  • What is the best Age you may retire?
  • What is the best Age you must retire?
  • State provision of pension v private provision v Employer provision
  • Contributory v Non-contributory
  • Pension Fund or Pay-as-you-go?
  • Defined benefit v defined contribution – who takes the risk?
  • Indexing: match inflation or salaries or none at all
  • Guarantee of occupational pensions (Waterford)
  • Number of weeks contribution required for full state pension (NI decreasing from 40 years to 30 years)
  • Living alone allowance – no increase in years

International:

Spain raised its retirement age in Feb 2010 to 67 for all people born after 1959, as part of measures to combat the crisis in the public finances.

Greece has raised its retirement age to 61.

Britain will phase in a retirement age of 68 over the next 40 years – the state pension age will rise to 66 in 2024, to 67 in 2034 and 68 in 2044, with each increase being phased in over two years. But recently there have been calls for the retirement age to rise to 70.

Audio & Video:

Web Links:

1/3/2010

Irish Independent article: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/retirement-age-new-plan-to-keep-us-working-beyond-65-2084121.html

Irish Independent opinion piece, Charlie Weston: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/charlie-weston-ageold-pension-worries-enough-to-turn-you-grey-2084038.html

Irish Independent editorial: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/pension-crisis-needs-answers-2084042.html

RTE – NI to cut state pension requirements: http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0301/pensions.html

RTE – Taoiseach’s long fingering of change: http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0301/pension.html

RTE – Today with Pat Kenny, 1/3/2010

Herald – Pension Age set for 68

2/3/2010

Irish Times opinion poll, 2/3/2010

Irish Independent – State will begin process of raising retirement age to 68 in four years

Irish Independent – Everyone will have to pay for their pensions (top story, front page)

Examiner – Pension Plan changes ‘very long term’

Irish Times – Cowen says “No immediate change” to retirement age

Irish Times opinion poll, 2/3/2010

NewsTalk 106 – Government to unveil pension scheme

Older links for context:

Irish Times – public servants to be allowed work until 70:, 27/3/2010

Mary Hanafin answering Dáil questions on the Framework 23/2/2010

RTE – UCD warn of increase in retirement age, 21/2/2008: www.rte.ie/news/2008/0421/pensions.html

RTE – Actuaries have called for an increase in the retirement age, 28/5/2008: http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0528/pensions.html

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