Friday 21 October 2016

Appoint a minister for pensions, parties told

Published 28/01/2016 | 02:30

IAPF President Jim Foley. Photo: Jason Clarke
IAPF President Jim Foley. Photo: Jason Clarke

A LEADING pensions organisation has challenged political parties to commit to creating a ministry for pensions in the next government.

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The Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) says a fear of dying has been replaced with a fear of living longer than your financial resources will last.

President of the IAPF Jim Foley said the lack of pensions coverage and inadequate retirement savings for those with a pension was one of the biggest issues facing the country.

Mr Foley said the ticking pensions time-bomb was set to explode if radical action is not taken. "The traditional fear of dying early has been replaced by a fear of living longer than your financial resources will last," he said.

The organisation, which represents pension savers, said there is a need for a pensions ministry in the next government. Mr Foley said: "There are huge challenges facing the next Government in terms of how it will support people in retirement.

"While the current structure supports people from different sectors to varying degrees, it is abundantly clear that tough decisions are required as a matter of urgency, to ensure that we have a pension system that is wholly sustainable and at the very least adequate for the people of Ireland."

He said the State pension is already running at a loss, and it will be clear in 20 to 30 years that it will be unaffordable.

"The State Pension is a fundamental part of income in retirement and it is important that this is sustainable so that people can plan for their future with certainty," he said.

The IAPF invited three opposition party members to set out in front of 100 leading pension practitioners what they the next steps in terms of pension planning for the country should be.

They include Senator Darragh O'Brien of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh of Sinn Féin and Eddie Hobbs, president of Renua.

The IAPF say that whether they like it or not the incoming Government will have to tackle the thorny issue of the sustainability of public sector pensions.

Mr Foley said: "This system currently operates on an unfunded pay-as-you go model. The next Government needs to put this on a sustainable and affordable footing."

He said public servants need to know that the pension promises made to them now are affordable.

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