New proposal recommends raising pension age to 70

The ESRI suggests the measure needs to form part of plans to cope with our ageing population

New proposal recommends raising pension age to 70

File photo. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

A leading think-tank has suggested Irish people should have to work until they're 70 to qualify for a state pension.

The measure has been tabled by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) 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’s 66 - going up to 67 in 2021 and hitting 68 by 2028.

That means if you were born from 1960 on you won’t get a state pension until age 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.

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

Fianna Fáil’s education spokesperson Thomas Byrne suggests that many people already work until later in life - either by choice or as a necessity.

He said his party would have to consider the new suggestion, but observed: "There are a lot of people - including my own father - still working in their 70s, some of them by necessity."

A cross department working group last year told Minister Paschal Donohoe that people retiring at 65 was increasingly impractical.

The Citizens Assembly', meanwhile, voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to abolish the mandatory retirement based on age.

However, they were talking about choosing to work on - not having to work 50 years, from age 20 to 70, to qualify for a state pension