ESRI suggestion to raise the age of retirement to 70 has attracted a lot of reaction

Irish people could have to work until they are 70 to qualify for a state pension.

The measure has been tabled by the Economic and Social Research Institute as a way of protecting the economy, but critics have been quick to react.

The qualifying age for a state pension in Ireland is already one of the highest in the EU and is due to rise further over the next 10 years.

Traditionally people have retired at 65, but the bailout agreement and living longer means the age we qualify for the state pension has been rising.

At the moment it is 66, but it is going up to 67 in 2021 and hitting 68 by 2028.

That means if you were born from 1960 on, you will not get a state pension until the age of 68.

The Government’s economic think tank has now suggested going further, allowing people to hit 70 before qualifying, so as not to overhear the economy

Justin Moran of Age Action Ireland says it will put people’s health in danger.

He said: "How long are we going to expect people working in physically demanding jobs - like construction, agriculture, care provision - to keep going, to keep putting wear and tear on their bodies before we let them retire on a fair and sustainable state pension?"

Many people already work well into their 70s but Fianna Fáil’s education spokesperson, Thomas Byrne, says that is by choice and his party would have to consider this suggestion.

Mr Byrne said: "I'm not going to give a definitive party position either way. It has only come out and I'm sure Willie O'Dea is looking at it.

"There are a lot of people out there still working, including my own father, into their 70s, and some of them by necessity."

Other groups have made similar suggestions, a cross-department working group last year told Minister Paschal Donohoe that retiring at 65 was increasingly impractical and the Citizens Assembly voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to end a mandatory retirement.

However, they were about choosing to work on, not having to work 50 years or more from the age of 20 to 70 to qualify for a state pension.

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