Wednesday 16 January 2019

New law to help with 'retirement cliff' fears - Donohoe

Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Fergal Phillips
Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Fergal Phillips
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says plans to raise the compulsory retirement age for civil servants will help address the looming "retirement cliff".

He was challenged on the issue in the Dáil by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin after a warning from the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS).

Union general secretary Ciarán Rohan said the civil service was on the brink of a "retirement cliff" because a third of senior staff would retire in the next five to 10 years. There were "genuine concerns" over the skill mix and expertise that would be lost.

Mr Donohoe said the Government planned to introduce legislation on the issue in the coming weeks.

Later, Mr Donohoe told reporters he was referring to a previous announcement to "increase the compulsory retirement age for any civil and public servants that joined after a particular point". "That legislation is being drafted at the moment and I aim to be publishing that legislation probably next month when I get the agreement of Cabinet," he added.

Mr Donohoe previously announced public servants would be allowed to work until the age of 70, rather than the traditional retirement age of 65. The plan would affect public-sector workers recruited before April 2004.

Figures revealed by the AHCPS show almost 40pc of those in the management position of principal officer are aged over 55. A third of the service's 2,310 assistant principal officers and 32pc of higher executive officers are in the same age group.

Separately, Mr Donohoe said there would be a "triple lock" for accessing a planned 'rainy-day' fund.

Mr Donohoe said the fund would begin with a transfer of €1.5bn from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and €500m in contributions each year from 2019 to 2021, bringing it to €3bn.

He said the funding could be accessed only after a three-step process where the Finance Minister decided its use was justified, the Cabinet grants approval, and the Dáil votes on it. The aim of the fund is to mitigate the risk of external economic shock.

Irish Independent

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