Monday 26 September 2016

Retirees deserve more respectful treatment

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Let's not forget that many people in the latter part of their 60s often have sizeable financial obligations, just like every other citizen (Maarten Wouters/Getty Images)
Let's not forget that many people in the latter part of their 60s often have sizeable financial obligations, just like every other citizen (Maarten Wouters/Getty Images)

Many people must retire from work aged 65. But at the moment, they do not qualify for the old age pension until they are 66. Up to two years ago, they would have got a pre-retirement payment but this was abolished in 2014. Nowadays, people in that situation must sign on for Jobseeker's Benefit, like all other people who are out of work. That situation appears to defy common sense.

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Today in this newspaper, we reveal that while a small and relatively constant number of people aged 60 to 64 sign on for Jobseeker's Benefit, there is a five-fold increase when the number aged 65-66 is assessed.

Next year, the pension age increases to 67 and in 2028 it will further rise to 68. Currently, the Jobseeker's Benefit of €188 per week only lasts for 50 weeks, just short of a full year. One wonders what will happen when the gap between retirement age and pension qualification lengthens.

Let's not forget that many people in the latter part of their 60s often have sizeable financial obligations, just like every other citizen. There are real practical issues here about keeping body and soul together for older workers and their dependants.

But there is also a fundamental issue around the need to respect people who have given a working life to society.

Allowing them to fall through the cracks of the welfare system is simply not good enough.

It is an insult to our older citizens and their families. It also diminishes the rest of us, old and young, by creating a societal image which is uncaring and cavalier.

The excellent campaign group for older people, Age Action Ireland, has today called for a change in the rules.

It has also urged a rethink on whether people should be forced to retire at age 65.

Now the 'Tipperary stars' are their hero footballers

The pundits understandably tipped the Galway footballers. But the young guns of Tipperary - so long in the shadow of their hurling counterparts - had other ideas as they announced their arrival on the national stage. It is over eight decades since the Premier County's footballers contested an All-Ireland semi-final. Yesterday, they remedied that omission in very fine style.

For long periods, Tipperary played right off the field in Croke Park a Galway side which had impressed on the way to this All-Ireland quarter-final. Their prize now is a semi-final tilt against either Mayo or Tyrone on August 21.

It must be acknowledged that this is not an overnight success. Tipperary's dedicated but sometimes isolated Gaelic footballing fraternity have been working hard for many years and adhering to a plan to develop a game which has hidden but deep roots in the county.

Now, they are popular winners, as the Irish and sporting fans across the globe love a successful underdog. It was a day on which little went right for the Galway footballers, who are also in the process of team-building.

It was also a disappointing day for the underdog Clare footballers, who succumbed to the old masters from Kerry.

The Tipperary footballers' epic defeat of Galway will sharpen an already intriguing clash between the hurlers from both counties in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final fixed for Croke Park on Sunday week, August 14.

But for now, Tipperary's new stars, the footballers, have enriched our sporting summer.

Irish Independent

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