Politicians across all parties have “absolutely bottled” the pensions issue, according to Shane Coleman.
He was speaking after a new survey found that fewer than one-in-four people are prepared to work longer in exchange for a larger State pension.
The research from Lockton People Solutions asked people about the Government’s new flexible age pension model that is due to come into force next year.
Under the plan people will remain entitled to their State pension at the age of 66; however, if they work until the age of 70, their payment will be nearly 20% larger.
The survey found that one-third of workers will only consider working longer if they cannot afford to retire at the age of 66.
It found that single people were more likely to consider working later in life – with women less likely than men to consider doing so.
'Absolutely bottled it'
Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman said politicians across every party have “absolutely bottled” the pensions issue.
He noted that the Pensions Commission has issued stark warnings about the State’s ability to pay pensions in the future – calling for the retirement age to be raised to 68.
Despite the warnings, he said, politicians are “running scared” and instead of tackling the issue, they, “took the Pensions Commission and threw it in the bin”.
“There is a reality check needed here,” he said.
“This disconnect - and it constantly amazes me - between Government and the State and the people.
“It is our money. It is our taxpayer’s money and our children’s money we are talking about here and it seems that people feel - I despair about this - that there’s this bottomless pit of money.
“Like we can just pay it out to people in welfare or in tax cuts or whatever it is.
“It’s not remotely realistic the idea of people retiring at 65 if they are living to 100.”
Fellow presenter Ciara Kelly said that if life expectancy continues to increase, the pensions age should rise too.
“We keep doing items on the show saying oh a child born today might live to 120,” she said.
“You can’t live to 120 and retire at 65 because we don’t have a possibility for the animals that are humans to live on the planet for 120 years and only work for about 30 of them.
“It is just not possible to fund your life for 120 years while working for 30.”
Think of the children
She warned that our pensions will not be paid through our taxes – but rather will come from our children’s.
“The people who are retired, it isn’t the money they put into their PRSI over the years that pays their pension, it is worker’s income tax that pays their pension,” she said.
“The problem is that our kids, there will be fewer of them to pay for the increasingly large older population.
“So, what we are actually saying is that I will retire on these conditions but you won’t be open to you. A generation on, it will be an impossibility.
“So, you pay for my gold-plated pension but you won’t have this yourself.
“It is not our money it is our children’s and our grandchildren’s money and we are putting our hands in their pockets.”
The iReach study for Lockton People Solutions surveyed over 700 workers around the country.