Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that while it is welcome that government parties have abandoned previous intentions to raise the pension age beyond 66, they need to go further and give workers the right to retire at 65.
She said the u-turn was a victory for the Stop67 Campaign, the trade union movement and those in the opposition who have campaigned on this issue for many years.
But the Dublin Fingal TD sought clarity on the Taoiseach’s comments regarding people continuing working until they are 70, adding that while flexibility for workers is welcome, nobody should be pressured to work beyond the age that they are entitled to receive a state pension if they do not wish to do so.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“I welcome that, thanks to years of campaigning by the trade union movement and the opposition, the Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil has now committed to not raising the pension age beyond 66.
“This in itself is a significant victory for the Stop67 Campaign and those affiliated with it, particularly when you consider the Taoiseach’s partners in coalition, Fine Gael, previously supported raising the pension age to 68.
“But it does not go far enough. Only a Sinn Féin-led government will ensure that workers have the right to their pension rate at 65 and that all workers, when they reach that age, will be given the freedom to choose to retire or work on if they wish to.
“The government should now work with Sinn Féin and support our Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) legislation, introduced in March.
“Some of the Taoiseach’s additional comments regarding people continuing working until they are 70 appear out of touch and require clarity.
“People who have had a lifetime working on their feet in hospitality or hairdressing, or doing hard labour on construction sites for example, simply cannot be expected to continue working beyond the pension age.
“We absolutely support flexibility for workers who wish to continue working beyond the pension age but that should be on their terms. Nobody should be pressured into working beyond the age they are entitled to a state pension if they do not wish to do so.
“It will not go unnoticed by workers that this government is now over two years in power, so instead of endlessly flying kites about such an important issue for people, they must now actually publish the details of their plan without any further delays.
“Retiring and receiving a state pension is a sacrosanct workers’ right – and that right cannot be fudged.”