State pension age change
Sir, – “Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I am sixty-four?” These Beatle lyrics may resonate with those who expect to attain that age in 2013. It may have escaped their attention, however, that at the stroke of a pen their entitlement to a State pension at age 65 has been taken from them. This entitlement, of nearly €12,000, which they paid for through social insurance, is no more.
Those who will suffer the loss have been told nothing of the decision and may be in for a very unpleasant surprise when they retire in 2014. Congress has long argued that pensions require long-term planning and hasty changes are cruel, inequitable and fall disproportionately on particular groups of workers. In this case it is private-sector workers who have already seen their occupational pensions decimated in the crisis. Those involved in making and implementing this decision will not suffer the losses they have chosen to visit on others.
Congress accepts that the pension age must rise, but in Ireland we are going much faster and further than anywhere else in Europe. This decision must be revisited and a more gradual and equitable way has to be found to spread the pain rather than plunging thousands of workers in to poverty at the end of their working lives. – Yours, etc,