Brendan Smith: We need to tackle mandatory retirement urgently

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan Brendan Smith has called for urgent measures to tackle the issue of forced mandatory retirement for people at age 65, adding that the opportunity of choice is vital for these people.

In a question to the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Brendan Smith, called on the Minister to provide a clear timescale for the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Pensions Commission.

“The reality right now is that some people are being forced to retire early, even though they want to remain on and continue working. They are prepared to work on and contribute to society and the economy, but cannot do so.

“These people should be supported in their desire to work on past age 65, and the recommendations of the Pensions Committee need to be acted on with little delay.”

In response, the Minister stated that successive Governments have committed to supporting older peoples’ continued engagement in economic and social life, including in the National Positive Ageing Strategy (2013), the Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Fuller Working Lives (2016) and the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023 (2018).  

The Minister added that, building on the work of these previous groups, the Pensions Commission supported measures to facilitate and encourage fuller working lives.  The Commission also fully supported Government commitments to facilitate employees remaining at work past the prevalent contractual retirement age of 65 if they wish to.

The Government agreed in October 2021 that the Commission’s report and recommendations would be referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection and also to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare for its views. That Joint Oireachtas Committee published its views on the 2nd February 2022.  The Commission on Taxation and Welfare has also submitted its views on the Pensions Commission’s PRSI related recommendations earlier this week. These comments, along with the views of the Joint Committee will be considered as part of our deliberations over the coming weeks.

The Minister concluded: “My officials are currently examining each of the recommendations and in this regard are consulting across Government through the Cabinet Committee system.  I think it is really important that we complete that work and get those views before reaching conclusions on any one recommendation such as the recommendation to align retirement ages in employment contracts with the State Pension age.  My intention is to bring a recommended response and implementation plan to Government by the end of March this year.”