Taoiseach confirms Bill approved to retain pension age at 66

Pension-age law will be in place to defer increase to 67 by January 1st, says Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the legislation will be published ‘very shortly’. File photograph: The Irish Times

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the legislation will be published ‘very shortly’. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

The Cabinet has approved legislation to defer the increase in the pension age to 67, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed.

He told Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald that the legislation “will be published very shortly” to retain the pension age at 66.

The increase in the age to 67 before which a person could claim the State pension, is due to come into effect on January 1st.

In the programme for government the Coalition agreed to defer that increase pending the outcome of a review by a pensions commission. The Government also pledged to enact amending legislation in time for the January 1st deadline.

Mr Martin’s comments come as the pension commission established to deal with the issue holds its inaugural meeting.

The last government passed a law increasing the age of retirement to 67 next year and 68 in 2028, but it became a big issue during the general election campaign.

In government-formation talks Fianna Fáil wanted to retain the pension age at 66 while Fine Gael resisted and the parties agreed to defer a decision for a year pending the outcome of the review.

Ms McDonald said “this delay is causing great uncertainty for many citizens”. She added that “the age at which someone is entitled to a pension ought to be 65 years in any civilised society that respects its workforce”.

‘People need to know’

Criticising Fianna Fáil, she said the party “has been all over the place on this issue” – rejecting Sinn Féin’s call for a State pension age of 65, but then agreeing to defer the pension increase to 67.

“The bottom line now is people need to know when the legislation will be introduced,” she added.

Mr Martin confirmed the legislation will be published “very shortly. He said “it has gone through Cabinet”.

He said the Government would take a “more consistent approach than the Sinn Féin party has taken in Northern Ireland where all of its members voted unanimously for the pension age to be increased to 66 years”.