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Friday 23 March 2018

Your working life just got longer -- good news if you love your job

DON LAVERY and Alison O'Riordan

The Government wants you to work longer before you getting a state pension -- and you will be tied to your job in some cases up to the age of 68.

Anyone who is 49 or younger on their birthday this year will not qualify for a state pension until they are 68.

Those aged 50 to 55 this year will not get a state pension until their are 67, while those in the 56-to-62 age racket will have to wait until they are 66 before enjoying the benefit of a state pension.

Meanwhile, people aged between 63 and 65 this year will get the pension at 65.

The new system means that the state pension age will rise to 66 in 2014, to 67 in 2021, and to 68 in 18 years' time.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said last week that spending on public pensions would increase from 5.5pc of GDP to almost 15pc in 2050.

He said the new system was needed to ensure that older people would have adequate income in retirement, without placing a huge strain on the public finances. We asked some well-known names for their views on the Government's proposals.

Anthony Cronin, writer:

"I don't get the pension so I'm not sure if I have a whole lot of reaction to it. The work I do is fulfiling and hopefully it gives some joy and illumination to other people. It never occurred to me that I could or would or should retire at 65.

"I can see why other people in jobs which they have no positive feeling about would want to retire (but) I don't think a few years this way or that matters a great deal.

"I think, on the whole, you should get a pension if one continues to work beyond retirement age as your earning power wouldn't be great -- so I see no reason for those who opt to work after 65 years shouldn't have it."

Garret FitzGerald, former Taoiseach:

"I am very much in favour . . . of the new pension situation, which will have people working later in life. Obviously, it is necessary to raise the pension age. People are living a lot longer and are much healthier, so we should be working longer.

"We cannot afford to be giving out pensions when people still have the capacity to work. I have no intention of retiring as I enjoy my work too much. It depends on what work you do whether one should be entitled to get a pension if they continue to work after 65 years of age."

Ulick O'Connor, writer:

"It seems to me that the Government has failed to persuade the higher civil servants to take a cut in this crisis and it's impertinent of them to turn to the pensioner section of the community and penalise them.

"I think if the Government wants to change the (state pension) age to 68 . . . they can't do that without showing good faith in other areas, one of them being the higher civil servants, whom they have not cut, and the other sensible thing would be to abolish the Senate and reduce the number of TDs."

Jackie Healy Rae, politician:

"Things are unsustainable the way they are at the moment and this is the only way forward."

Gay Byrne, broadcaster

"It doesn't affect me in the least as I was of pensionable age long ago. I think it is probably part of the situation we find ourselves in . . . and this is one of the many many, many by-products."

Martin Donnellan: (Former assistant commissioner of the gardai, who lost a case against the State over its compulsory retirement age of 60 for gardai in the High Court)

"I think it certainly brings my case into sharp focus anyway. I felt that I had a very strong case at the time. I still believe I have. We are now being told we have to work longer and surely that justifies my case and how out of shape the result (in the case) was."

Ben Dunne, businessman

"Wouldn't we be far better off dealing with . . . the immediate problems we have? So many people are unemployed and we are talking about something that won't happen until 2014.

"I'm spending all my time focusing on my business at the moment and I would think that all small industries are far more concerned about the present time.

"It makes me angry that they are talking about these things. There are people hanging in there by the skin of our teeth and it's the immediate problems we have got to get sorted out. But why should this be making headlines; the headlines should be what we are doing tomorrow and the day after to get our economy back online."

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