Why is the feud over the future of Irish pensions so important?

Big decisions are ahead on Irish pension policy, with important implications for national finances and for people’s personal finances. A key call will be what will happen to the age at which people are entitled to the state pension, currently 66. But there are a range of other policy changes that are also likely to be considered in this politically most sensitive area.

1. Retirement age

The previous policy of gradually raising the age of entitlement to state pensions – known as the state retirement age – was put on hold due to controversy ahead of the last parliamentary elections. The state’s retirement age was lowered from 65 to 66, but it was projected to be 67 last January and 68 by 2028 have been put on hold, pending a study by a pensions commission . Its report is supposed to recommend that any further increase be postponed for seven years, with a gradual increase in the retirement age to 67 in a series of gradual steps between 2028 and 2031 and an increase to 68 by 2039. However, its full analysis of the financial implications of this reform and other necessary reforms have not yet been published. There are also key questions relating to what is happening with the employment contracts of people, many of whom provide for retirement at age 65.

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