Government will give 'full consideration' to report on increasing pension age

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there was a lot to consider after the publication of a report which proposes linking the State pension to life expectancy
Government will give 'full consideration' to report on increasing pension age

Taoiseach Micheál Martin:'Over the next 30 years significant challenges will be facing us as a society in terms of pension sustainability because we’re ageing more as a society in terms of the proportion of young people to older people and people in the workforce.' File picture: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Raising the pension age and linking the State pension to life expectancy will be given “full consideration” following the publication of a new report, the Taoiseach said.

Michéal Martin said a “menu of options and decisions” flow from that report in terms of the pension age and sustaining State pensions into the future.

Speaking after a visit to the Teagasc Food Innovation Hub in Fermoy, Co Cork, Mr Martin said: “Over the next 30 years significant challenges will be facing us as a society in terms of pension sustainability because we’re ageing more as a society in terms of the proportion of young people to older people and people in the workforce.

“And we’re living longer – which is a good thing.” 

On Friday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe published a report which proposed linking the State pension age to life expectancy to reduce pension costs for the taxpayer.

People are living longer and the birth rate is declining so reforms will be needed to bridge the financial gap, it said.

Currently, there are about four people of working age to support each person aged 65 and over. This number is expected to fall to just over two by 2050.

The Taoiseach said: “We’ve just received the report from the pension agency we established to look at pension age.

“We’ll give that full consideration. I was briefed during the week from the chairperson on the pension review body, Josephine Feehily, and officials from the Department of Social Protection.

“There’s a lot in it so it will go to Government and then we’ll publish it and there’s a menu of options and decisions that flow from that to review both in terms of the age, in terms of sustaining it into the future.” 

Katherine Zappone appointment leak

Mr Martin did not commit to launching an investigation into the Katherine Zappone appointment leak and said that he would instead "concentrate my energies on dealing with the bread and butter issues facing the people” .

“In recent times, over recent years, there have been leaks. In terms of Cabinet confidentially it is extremely important that what is said at the Cabinet table is kept within the Cabinet table of course.

“But I am going to concentrate my energies on dealing with the bread and butter issues facing the people. We’ve done well on Covid 19, we’re emerging from it.

“The biggest challenge now is to manage the challenges of capacity constraints, of inflation in the short term.” 

Controversy over Michael D Higgins

On the controversy over President Michael D Higgins' decision not to attend a church service in Armagh to commemorate the partition of Ireland, North from South, Mr Martin said: “I respect the president’s decision and I understand where he’s coming from.

“He’s given his reasons. And the president has given a lot of time to commemoration, he takes it very seriously.

“He’s also very committed to reconciliation, we don’t need to question his bone fides in that respect. He has a longstanding commitment to peace and reconciliation on the island. He has made his decision now and as he said himself, we should move on.”

He said the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom had been transformed over the past 30 years and this latest controversy would not harm it.

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