Following the launch of the long awaited National Pensions Framework, by Minister Hanafin today at Government Buildings, Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) welcomed the Framework Launch but expressed her concern over the increase in the minimum age for the non-contributory State pension.
“The Parliament has always been of the view that any increase in the age of retirement should be voluntary with choices available to the person based on what is best for them.” While we support the option to allow people to continue working longer, the mandatory age increase may not fully take the individual health and well-being of Older People into consideration.
There appears to be no ongoing commitment to move beyond the 35% of gross Average Industrial Earnings which the Framework has set out and the ISCP will work to increase this figure over time.
We welcome the introduction of Credits for Homemakers from 2012 which will replace disregards retrospective to 1994. This will benefit many women. However there are many women who were in caring and homemaker roles prior to that time. Many of them are also affected by the marriage bar and we would urge the Minister to re-examine these issues.
We welcome the concept of the introduction of the auto-enrolment scheme. We will be closely watching how it evolves. We were in favour of a system which would be State run.
“We invite public participation in this debate – come to www.seniors.ie and let us know what you think”, concluded Ms Hayes.
Recommendations on Pension Reform from the ISCP (1 Page)Recommendations on Pension Reform from the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament
1. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is calling for a new pension system that guarantees an income adequate to meet all the needs of pensioners. Respect for Older People and a commitment to maintaining independence in old age would underpin this system. In this system a pension would be an income replacement not a minimum anti-poverty measure. An adequate pension would lead to a number of gains for society, not least social inclusion and a positive ageing experience for all (O’Shea in O’Dell, 2006). A system underwritten by these principles would be progressive and sustainable.
2. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament proposes a new pension system where mandatory contributions are made to a State run scheme which guarantees a pension of 50% of Gross Average Industrial Earnings on retirement.
3. Mandatory occupational pensions should be offered to all staff. Staff should not be allowed to opt out as most of our members state that where they have a GOOD PENSION it is because they had to pay for it.
4. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for reforms that would enable all Older People who need it to qualify for the State non-contributory pension.
5. The benchmark system to be applied should be the best that is on offer.
6. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for the Homemakers’ Scheme to be backdated to allow Older Women to receive a full pension in their own right
7. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for women with inadequate contribution records to be provided with a pension in recognition of their contribution to the economy and society.
8. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for a total contributions approach to qualifying for a pension because every contribution made can be used to fund pensions and should be redeemable regardless of when or how the contribution was made.
9. In the context of class D and dependent adult allowances, we suggest that the agreement for some farmer/self-employed spouses may provide a solution to deal with them. The SCOPE model agreed under the “Towards 2016” Social Partnership Agreement by the IFA, DSFA and Revenue surely provides an innovative blueprint for the resolution of other anomalies.
10. We recommend that the pension be paid at 65 and the Transition pension be abolished.
11. This allowance should be increased annually in line with inflation.