Cowen says 'no immediate change' to retirement age


TAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen has said there will be “no immediate change” to the current retirement age, but has signalled that demographics may require a review in the “long term”.

Speaking to reporters in Galway yesterday, where he opened the Irish Hotels Federation conference, Mr Cowen confirmed that the Government’s National Pensions Framework document would be published this week.

Asked about increasing the retirement age limit, Mr Cowen said “there will be no immediate change in relation to this matter”.

He added: “But obviously one is setting out a very long-term framework whereby you have to look at the demographics of the situation, the number of people who have work, compared to those who are retired, and you have to put in place plans for the long-term future that will provide for a sustainable pensions policy going forward.”

Mr Cowen and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan will join Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin at the launch of the long-awaited National Pensions Framework in Dublin tomorrow.

The Department of Social and Family Affairs said that the framework “outlines reforms to State, private and public service pension provision”.

“It will address the role of the employee, employer and State in providing for pensions as well as future retirement age.”

Government sources refused to comment on suggestions that the framework would provide for different retirement ages for long-serving workers and new recruits.

In response to a parliamentary question on February 23rd, Ms Hanafin said: “Since the Green Paper [on Pensions] was published in October 2007, the economic environment has changed considerably and the Government needs to ensure that any decisions we make in the pensions area will be robust enough to withstand the challenges that will arise in the future.”

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s launch, Fine Gael social and family affairs spokeswoman Olwyn Enright said: “Brian Cowen has spent 13 years at the Cabinet table. At the end of those 13  years of  Fianna Fáil Government there is still no official policy to address the looming  pension black hole.”