A UNIVERSAL pension payment should replace the State Pension and the mandatory retirement age should be abolished.
That’s according to Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection that has recommended a major reform of how the State pension operates.
The Limerick Fianna Fáil TD, who sits on the committee with six other TDs and four senators from across all parties, held meetings earlier this year with Age Action Ireland, with the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Congress and Active Retirement Ireland.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, Deputy O’Dea said that he is “going to push like hell” to have the mandatory retirement age abolished as it is gone in other countries “so bureaucratic inertia must be the only reason the bills have not passed through”.
“No employee should be contractually obliged to retire based on age if they are willing and able to remain at work.
It was recommended that the disparity between the retirement age and the pension age needs to be addressed and that the gender disparity that exists in pension income is also addressed as a matter of urgency.”
The committee found that the current averaging system is inequitable and a new type of contribution system should be devised.
“I am told by the Minister that €250m extra is going to be needed just to accommodate those who have reached retirement within the last 12 months and that is before there is any increase in the budget”, Deputy O’Dea said.
Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, is considering the introduction of a Total Contribution System to replace the averaging system, the committee noted.
A universal pension payment to replace the State Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory) was also amongst the recommendations put forward.
Deputy O’Dea also highlighted that the discrimination against women had to be immediately addressed.
“In 2012, changes were made to increase the number of bands and a doubling of the minimum number of required contributions was also introduced.
This should be suspended immediately as they are negatively impacting and discriminating against women”.
The committee went on to say that pension recipients deserve to have a feeling of stability and security about their incomes.
“As people benefit from greater longevity, the ratio between those of working age continues to alter, from five to one in the 2011 census and projected to fall to half that by 2050.
“This creates pressure on the existing pension system. There are also current consequences of historic inequity, such as the impact of the marriage bar on the contribution records of affected women”, the committee said.
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