I read with great interest the promises made by various political parties to appease the ‘grey vote’ in the general election: “FG and FF back transition payment for those retired before qualifying for State pension” (The Irish Times, January 22).
Since 2009, an agreement has been in place to pay all post-1995 military officers on full PRSI who are forcibly retired on age grounds at age 58 a supplementary pension (as long as the pensioner is not, before age 65, in insurable employment).
The ‘one size fits all’ single public service pension scheme effectively tore up this agreement for all post-January 1, 2013, personnel, failing to take into account the markedly earlier compulsory retirement ages of frontline uniformed personnel.
This has had a devastating impact on turnover intent within the Defence Forces, with many young officers in particular no longer viewing Óglaigh na hÉireann as a viable long-term career.
With all the recent outcry surrounding the need to bridge the gap of one year between retirement from the workforce and the entitlement to the state pension, spare a thought for the uniformed men and women in this country including our Defence Forces, gardaí and fire fighters who will be forced out of a job but will have to wait a decade for their pension entitlement.
Commandant Conor King
General secretary, Representative Association of Commissioned Officers
While the pension controversy is being bandied about from political party to political party, I can feel the fudge and double-cross of the century coming.
Some journalists have even reported that public servants can claim a supplementary pension from retirement at 63. Some may, but as a retired soldier, I certainly can not.
Fianna Fáil says it will have to be looked at and people who are forced to retire will get some sop thrown their way. They will not reverse anything judging by their comments in the last few days.
Fine Gael are not sure what their policy is with, three different opinions last week. The following language is not helpful by any party. Those that “wish to work” after 65 will be entitled to their pension at 67 or 68, with some sort of supplemental payment in between.
The line workers want to hear, unequivocally, is that all people will be eligible for retirement at 65 and the state pension will be available to them at 66.
No ifs and buts. No more nonsense about looking into it, or if workers want to work on, etc. All permutations of workers wishing to work or being forced to retire are irrelevant.
Politicians should come clean and state where they stand.
Should workers be entitled to retire at 65 and draw their pension at 66, as heretofore has been the case? The answer is a simple yes or no.
Once we know the answer to that simple question we, the voter, maylet them know where we stand at the ballot box.
These readers opinions were originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 27 January 2020.