Sinn Féin defends raising pension age to 66 in North

TD Louise O'Reilly said raising retirement age was no longer the party's position
Sinn Féin defends raising pension age to 66 in North

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly said people want the right to retire at 65. Picture: Sam Boal /

Sinn Féin has defended changing the pension age to 66 in Northern Ireland as they table a motion to lower it to 65 in the Republic.

A motion to be brought to the Dáil for debate on Tuesday night will see Sinn Féin argue those retiring at 65 should receive a State pension payments rate.

Sinn Féin unanimously supported legislation in Stormont which raised the pension age to 66 in 2012, which was implemented last year, however, TD Louise O'Reilly said this no longer the party's position.

"So it's 2021," Ms O'Reilly said.

"We have an ard fheis position and a policy position that people should be able to retire and access pension rate of pay at the age of 65 and as I said, after a lifetime of work we believe that that's what workers deserve, and we want to see that happen both north and south."

The pension age became a hot topic during the last election and Ms O'Reilly said: "The right to retirement 65 was a huge issue, and it came up a huge amount on the doorsteps, people want the right to retire at 65 but they also want a choice and that's what we heard from the electorate overwhelmingly, they want the choice to stay on."

The bill calls for the right for those who wish to retire at 65 to be able to do so, with the option for those currently in employment when they reach the pension age to stay in employment if they so wish.

"After a lifetime of work we believe that you should have the right to your pension at the age of 65 and that's why we're asking all TDs in the Dáil to support a motion to send a message to workers who are approaching the age of 65, that that's what we want. We want to allow them the choice to work on, if they still choose, or the opportunity to retire on their pension rate of pay at the age of 65.

Sinn Féin believes the cost to the State of reducing the pension age will be €127m.

The current qualifying age for all State pensions is 66. An increase to 67 in 2021 and to 68 in 2028 has been planned and deferred.

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