‘We should think of the next generation’: More readers share views on pension age

Mixed views on whether qualifying age for State pension should rise beyond 66

A decision on the issue of the State pension age is expected to be made by the Government by the end of March.

In a report published on Wednesday, the Oireachtas committee examining the recommendations of the Pensions Commission said the qualifying age for the State pension should not rise beyond 66.

The committee’s view runs counter to the stance of the commission which argued the pension age should rise in steps to 67 by 2031 and then to 68 by 2039.

We asked Irish Times readers to have their say on what the qualifying age for the State pension should be, and how it should be funded.

Some of these were published on Wednesday but due to the volume of replies we are publishing another set of responses today. Some entries have been edited for length.

‘Unfair’

I have been nursing since 1982. I have had no career breaks or maternity leave. My longest time away from work was six weeks to recover from surgery. I have always worked directly with patients, always busy. Nursing is physically and mentally demanding and I feel I need to retire at 60 years of age, let alone 66 years of age. I think it would be unfair to raise the qualifying pension age.

I have paid PRSI since I was 18, my contributions went towards the pensions of people who went before me, so I find it hard to listen to people saying that the pension age should rise. Let people decide if they would like to retire at a later age but leave us the option to go at 66 years on a full, well earned State pension.

Barbara O’Connor, Co Dublin

I have been working since I was 17-years-old and I am now aged 61 in a physically demanding job with a lot of heavy lifting in a retail warehouse. Surely I have contributed enough PRSI and USC to have earned a pension. Why can public servants retire at 65 years? Surely the money is out of the same pot. Why does one rule apply to public servants?

Breege Meenaghan, Co Galway

The pension age should not rise in my view. I am 58-years-old and I have 42 years service in the electrical trade. I think once you have 40 plus years contributions made, you should be eligible for State pension at 64.

Liam Wade, Co Galway

Next generation

Something has to be done to help the next generation meet the demands regarding pensions. I speak as a 78-year-old who worked full time until age 70 and has mainly but not fully retired. I would have gradually cut back after 70 but a change of circumstances in my workplace meant I retired cold turkey.

Many people like me could or would want to work longer. We have, fortuitously, an increasingly long stretch of years for the working cohort to maintain us. We should think of the next generation and work another year and maybe another later on. 12 months is not a long time.

Monica Murphy, Co Dublin

In 1962 life expectancy was just under 70 years. In 2022 it’s almost 83 years. The State pension is €12,912 per year, so the extra 13 years the average pensioner is living compared to 1962 will cost the State nearly €170,000 for each pensioner. The State pension age needs to reflect current longevity or otherwise it will become an ever-increasing drain on the State coffers which will result in less money for other essential services. So yes, the State pension age should rise slowly.

Liam Ferguson, Co Laois

There are three realities that should steer a decision on the retirement age, because of its effect on social solidarity between the generations. 1. On average we are living longer so there are more years of retirement for the State to pay for, unless the retirement age rises. 2. We are having fewer children, so there are fewer workers to pay the cost of our pensions to the State. 3. The older the retirement age goes, the more people that will be too unwell to work to that age. So by all means raise the retirement age as life expectancy rises, but do make reasonable accommodation for people who become unable to do their job before they reach pension age.

David H, Co Donegal

Unsustainable

The government should have maintained their original plan. All the evidence points to the fact that at some time (not too long in the future) the pension bill will become unsustainable. The key word is “future”. Of course the real problem here is that too many people have made no provision for their pension expecting the State to look after them in old age. It’s an admirable concept but not practical in a small country facing a future where technology will reduce the number of unskilled jobs. Running away from reality is not a fair legacy for future generations who will have to deal with the repercussions of this shortsighted politically expedient decision.

Pat Curran, Co Sligo

It is my view that there should be a sliding scale either side of an agreed pension age. People retiring before 66 for example would get a reduce pension rate of say 20 euro less if they retire at 65. 40 euro less at 64 and so on. People retiring later would receive a higher rate.This would allow people to plan for their retirement in a more flexible way. Overall the pension should be linked to PRSI contributions- fewer contributions receive a lower rate. In the future PRSI will likely need to increase and the pension decrease. Clarity is key. People need to know where they stand and be able to plan accordingly.

Paul Galvin, Ireland

Yes it should. The continual pandering to the grey vote at the expense of the young is putting an unsustainable cost on their shoulders. It can’t continue like this much longer.

Michael MacSharry, Co Dublin

‘Right to retire’

No. If a person has worked for 45 years and paid all of their relevant taxes, they have earned the right to retire and enjoy the remainder of life with the assistance of the State pension.

Claire McGann, Co Dublin

People should be able to collect their pension from age 65, in monthly increments. A base pension amount should be calculated for age 65, and people should get a higher amount for delaying their pension start age.

Paul Webster, Co Wexford

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