Minister says any pension changes will be "on top of the State pension"

Regina Doherty has dismissed any suggestion the State pension may be abolished

Minister says any pension changes will be "on top of the State pension"

Fine Gael Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD at a press briefing in Government Buildings | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Government has categorically ruled out any prospect of abolishing the State pension.

A new report suggested the Government could move to scrap the contributory State pension, once a pension scheme in which workers are automatically enrolled in is established.

A member of the Pensions Authority suggested it might be replaced by a new national pension scheme.

Workers would be automatically enrolled in the new scheme, but they can opt out.

Speaking on Saturday, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on social protection Willie O'Dea said: "I recognise the need to introduce new measures to incentivise people to save for their retirement so that they are not only reliant upon the State pension.

"However, the suggestion that the State pension can be abolished is dangerous and reckless.

"Minister Doherty must make it clear that this is not on the Government agenda".

However Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has said the State Pension will not be abolished.

She said people need to be incentivised to supplement their State Pension with additional savings.

"Yes we're about to embark upon a very progressive reform of our pension systems and move to a new system, which is called Total Contributions.

"And I'm also going to introduce a new saving scheme for people, to try and encourage some of our younger people to save for their pension in the future - but that's on top of the State pension.

"The State pension is the bedrock of what our social welfare system is.

"What I want to do is to ensure that the pension system is sustainable, it's fair and that people have a minimum standard of living when they hit pensions age and retirement age".

"So at the moment... of all the people who work in the private sector, only 35% of them are actually saving for retirement.

"That's why we're going introduce something called the Autoenrolment Pensions Savings Scheme.

"If we can encourage and incentivise people in the private sector to start saving now for their future retirement, well then their standard of living will be better because they won't just be relying on the State pension - but they will always have a State pension".