THE current baby boom will help ease the pensions' timebomb, a leading civil servant has said.
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) last year predicted pensions for state employees will cost €116bn over the next 60 years, prompting concern over the Government's ability to foot the bill.
Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, described the figure as "frightening".
But he told the Dail's spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, that the baby boom means the Government may be better able to meet its pension obligations in future.
"The good news on that is that babies are remarkably popular. If people go on producing babies, that will help," he said in response to questions from Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy.
A quarter of Irish people are now under the age of 18, compared with the EU average of 19pc. Observers hope this will mean there's a larger tax base in future years when the number of pensioners will grow due to increased longevity and modern medicine.
Mr Watt said his department and the Office of the C&AG were conducting another review to monitor the amount needed for future pensions.
"It is an issue and definitely a challenge in terms of managing costs. We can't be complacent about it," he said.
The secretary general added that "policy changes" could be made "in future" to bring down the pension bill. Public sector pensions currently cost the State around €3bn a year.
In last year's report, the C&AG called for a thorough review to be carried out every three years.