Greens stick to opposition to increasing State pension age to 67

Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar expected to write to Green leader Eamon Ryan on Tuesday

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. The party last week published 17 conditions for entering discussions on a potential programme for government. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

The Green Party has said it still opposes increasing the State pension age to 67 as it considers whether to enter government negotiations with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Fine Gael leader Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are expected to write to Green leader Eamon Ryan on Tuesday in response to conditions his party has laid down for entering coalition talks with the so-called Civil War parties.

The Greens last week published 17 conditions for entering discussions on a potential programme for government, and Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been considering the document in recent days.

One of demands is that any coalition the Greens enter would commit to a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 7 per cent annually.


The contents of the response from Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar were being closely guarded by both leaders and their senior staff, although a number of drafts were said to have been worked on over the weekend.

Carbon targets

The letter will see Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin invite Mr Ryan to a meeting. Some sources suggested the letter would say Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would be open to discussions on advanced carbon targets, but figures suggested the onus would be on the Greens to explain exactly how the target could be met.

Mr Martin has in recent days said he opposes the pension age increase, which is due to rise to 67 at the start of 2021. Fine Gael said the age should increase, although a transition payment would be introduced.

The pension age was one of the major issues in the general election which took place on February 8th, with Fianna Fáil saying during the campaign that the qualification age should be deferred pending a review.

A suggestion by Mr Martin that there had been agreement on the issue was played down by Fine Gael, with Mr Varadkar’s spokesman saying no agreement had been reached but that pensions would be discussed in government talks.

Mr Martin’s comments caused some anger in Fine Gael, with a number of sources saying such a change may not be affordable.


“If this is what it is like now, what’ll it be like in government?” asked a Government source. On the pension age, Mr Martin told the Sunday Independent: “That’s not happening now. I think there is agreement on that and that’s not happening. I think the programme for government will have to specify that and that’s a matter for discussion between two parties.”

A senior Fianna Fáil figure on Monday said “there is no agreement”, but also said the matter will be discussed in any government talks.

The Greens are both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s preferred government partners.

Dublin Central TD Neasa Hourigan, the Greens’ finance spokeswoman and party whip, said the party’s position on the pension age remains unchanged, adding: “We would like to see a review to consider the introduction of flexible pension ages.”

Waterford TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh, the Greens’ social protection spokesman, said there has been no change since the election, when the Greens backed Siptu’s campaign to stop the pension rise and called for a “stakeholders’ forum” to discuss the issue fully.