Fears over fall in private pensions

THE Government is seriously concerned about the relatively low take-up of private pensions.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has sent a strong message to the pension industry to encourage low and middle-income earners to invest in pensions. According to the Fine Gael TD, just half of workers aged 20-69 have taken out private pensions.

The financial difficulties facing families is a factor in this number falling in recent years, the minister said.

"The fact that private pension coverage continues to be relatively low is of major concern to the Government," he added.

Speaking at a conference in Dublin, Mr Noonan attributed the renewed confidence in Ireland to international investors, adding that domestic investors need to play their part.

"It is equally important that domestic investors have the confidence to invest in Ireland," he said.

He said the Government still believed Ireland could return to the bond markets this year, but to do so would be a real challenge.