Fórsa and other unions have slammed Government plans to further increase the state pension qualifying age to 67 next January and to 68 in 2028.
As the plans emerged strongly as an election issue, ICTU general secretary Patricia King rejected as “wholly unacceptable” Government claims that a reversal of the policy – which would leave Ireland with the highest state pension qualifying age in the EU – was unaffordable.
“The pension issue was raised by ICTU as a matter of grave concern as far back as 2011, when the change was first proposed, and consistently thereafter with various government ministers and the Taoiseach. It has been included in successive Congress pre-Budget submissions,” she said.
She accused the Government of implementing measures – including reducing contribution rates for the self-employed – that would deplete the social insurance fund, which pays for old-age pensions.
Meanwhile, Siptu economist Michael Taft said the €217 million cost of reversing the pension age increase could be financed from the existing social insurance fund, which is currently running a surplus of €1.4 billion a year.
“The reality is that, in the short term, there would be no need to increase taxation, cut spending or borrow to finance the cancellation of the pension age increase,” he said.