Fianna Fáil’s Employment Affairs and Social Protection Spokesperson, Willie O’Dea has said that the move to change eligibility for State Pension to 68 should not take place until the new system for calculating pension entitlements is in place, and up and running.

“There is some unease, and it’s an unease that I share, that the 40 year baseline is considerably higher than the original 30 year proposal.

“I am concerned that this will disproportionately affect self-employed persons due to retire soon. Self-employed workers have only been able to contribute towards their pension since 1988. To meet the 40 year baseline would require those who started working in 1988 to continue in employment for 10 more years.

“It needs to be remembered that many in self-employment are working in physically demanding roles and forcing them to continue to working for a further 10 years would be very difficult.

“Additionally, there are many returned emigrants who spent time abroad, outside of the EU, working now in this State who will not be able to meet this 40 year requirement. It’s unfair on them to say the least.

“The pensions’ time bomb is a major challenge for our country. Fianna Fáil believes that action must be taken now to address it. One such way would be for the Government to ban employment contracts that stipulate retirement ages.

“If someone is willing to continue working past the antiquated 65 year threshold, they should be allowed to. Two things will happen: there will be additional contributions paid to the Social Security Fund and there will be reduced pension payments as the number in receipt of a State Pension will drop.

“I am calling on Minister Doherty to take a step back and think before she makes fundamental changes of this nature,” concluded O’Dea.