Pensioners may be paid for helping out in the community
PENSIONERS could be paid for voluntary work they do in the community under new plans being considered by Government.
Junior Minister Aine Brady yesterday revealed that Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv is looking at requests to give the elderly a financial incentive to lend their experience to society.
Such a move would allow the elderly to help areas of the community grappling with economic or social problems -- and allow them to feel wanted in retirement.
The comments came amid fears for the pension plans of thousands of people nearing retirement age in the wake of the economic downturn.
Eight defined benefit pension schemes closed down last year and more closures are expected -- with as many as 75pc of schemes in deficit.
The Irish Pensions Board said the deficit in many of the cases was substantial and this meant that many people would have a lower income when they retired.
Yesterday Ms Brady said older people were looking to contribute to the economy.
And she insisted the Government was aware of the level of experience they could provide and proposals for a financial incentive for elderly volunteers was being considered.
"Many of those proposals have been made and I know that Minister O Cuiv will be looking at those," she said.
"Certainly in terms of volunteerism, be it on a paid basis or a part-time basis, or completely on a volunteer basis, all issues are being actively considered," she added.
Ms Brady said many pensioners wanted to be more flexible about their retirement plans and give something back to society.
"I know we are increasing the retirement age, but it is important that it wouldn't just be written in stone and there would be flexibility around that," she said.
The minister made the comments at the launch of the Retirement Ireland 2020 Conference, which will be held at the Aviva Stadium on October 6.
The half-day conference, which will be opened by Ms Brady, will address the concerns surrounding Ireland's ageing population as they approach retirement.
It will be chaired by Aine Lawlor, host of RTE's flagship show 'Morning Ireland', and will also feature economist Marc Coleman, who will address the economic implications of an ageing demographic and cash-starved government.