Reaction to pension reform plan

 

Madam, – I am in my late 50s and unemployed after working for more than 30 years. I do not qualify for any State benefit because of my wife’s income, and that’s fair enough.

As far as unemployment statistics are concerned, I am a non- person, because only those signing on are counted. But now I am going to be denied the old-age pension until I am 66.

I would be quite happy to work until I am 66, if I could get work. My contributory work pension was decimated over the past few years, so that won’t be much use to me.

I’m sure there are thousands of people like me – some worse off. Meanwhile, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs (who is in charge of this), and other ministers and ex-ministers get their pensions because they feel they have an entitlement to them. It seems that a sense of entitlement is the criteria used for politicians (of all parties) while the rest of us must settle for what is left after they take their snouts out of the trough. – Yours, etc,

TOM FARRELL,

Hawthorn Park,

Forrest Road,

Swords,

Co Dublin.

Madam, – The Government’s proposed pension age reforms may be its first recognition that we are in a currency union where we must compete with Germany and others. Low taxes (requiring low spending) may now be the only way to compete given sticky wages and high costs.

That we cannot continue to recklessly increase public spending (and inflation) while Germany acts responsibly should have been recognised by the Government on joining the euro zone.

Instead we have a combined budget, banking and competitiveness crisis. – Yours, etc,

CIARAN DALY,

Stradbrook Park,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Madam, – Pat McArdle should know better. In his article (Opinion, March 4th) he justifies the increase in the retirement age on the basis that 100 years ago life expectancy was 50 whereas today it is 76 for men and 81 for women.

While Mr McArdle quotes life expectancy at birth, he fails to point out that life expectancy depends strongly on age and that the dramatic increase in life expectancy in the last century was primarily due to reduced infant mortality and not to older people living longer.

According to the CSO, men and women who reached the age of 65 in 1912 could expect to live to the age of 78. Today, these same men and women can expect to live until the ages of 80 and 84 respectively. An increase to be sure, but not as dramatic as Mr McArdle would have us believe. – Yours, etc,

FRED LOGUE,

Rue Meyerbeer,

Brussels,

Belgium.

Madam, – I write as a victim of the pensions industry. It is an outrage that the Government plans to give to the pensions industry, taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

This is the same pensions industry that has been largely responsible for destroying many people’s personal pensions (mine included) in recent times and in the process taking large commissions for its efforts. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK O’BYRNE,

Shandon Crescent,

Phibsborough,

Dublin 7.

A chara, –   How correct is it to say “At present half the workforce is solely reliant on the State pension in retirement” (Editorial, March 4th)? Half of the population may not have a formal pension arrangement, but this is not the same as saying that they have nothing other than the State pension.

The equity bear market of the last decade drove many Irish people to invest in property in order to fund future retirement income. Bricks and mortar were supposed to be a safer investment and this belief drove supposedly risk-free investment from Bundoran to Bratislava. There were also tens of thousands who relied on blue-chip bank shares to fund their pensions. It is not so long ago that bank shares used to pay out a regular dividend and offer a strong level of capital security.

While both equities and property have recently run into some difficulty, it is incorrect to imply that they are absolutely worthless. – Is mise,

CATHAL RABBITTE,

Im Walder,

Zollikon,

Switzerland.