The Social Democrats today reiterated their strong support for the campaign to stop the increase in the state pension age to 67 years from next year and subsequently to 68.

Speaking in Finglas in her constituency of Dublin North West, co-leader Róisín Shortall said that the Government’s plan to increase the pension age would mean a scaling back of people’s benefit entitlements and an overall reduction in pension value of up to 20%.

She said:

“Increasing the pension age would have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income pensioners who depend entirely on the state pension as their sole income.”

Deputy Róisín Shortall has consistently raised this issue in the Dáíl as far back as 2013, but the Government has refused to address the issue until confronted with it in an election campaign.

Shortall continued:

“The Government election promise on pensions yesterday is just a fig-leaf and an admission that they got the policy wrong.  The Social Democrats call on Fine Gael to abandon this approach and simply agree not to raise the pension age to 67.

“However, much more needs to be done than a knee-jerk reaction. We must ensure that the state pension is affordable and secure so that people can have certainty about what they will receive as they plan for their older age. The Social Democrats believe the best long-term solution can be reached by seeking an all-party agreement on the future of the Contributory State Pension, to once and for all create real certainty around pensions.

“We need to have a grown-up conversation based on the principles of fairness and certainty.  The Social Democrats believe agreement is needed on the following priorities:

  1. A commitment to end the auction politics on pensions and to link the State Pension either to 35% of the average wage or to increases in public service pensions in order to promote equality and solidarity.
  2. The need to align the retirement age with the pension age and adjust employment contracts accordingly.
  3. Consideration of funding proposals to bring the pension age back to 65.
  4. The introduction of a system whereby individuals should be given the flexibility to receive the State Pension earlier or later than 65. The actual pension they receive would be reduced or increased on a cost neutral basis.

“People who are reliant, or will rely, on the state contributory pension for their income, having paid for it throughout their working lives, need absolute certainty on when and how much they will receive, and that it will be managed fairly.”


22nd Jan 2020

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