Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Barry Cowen TD has criticised the Government for failing to address an anomaly with the mandatory retirement age for public servants.

Deputy Cowen made the comments after raising the issue by way of Parliamentary Question with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe. The Minister failed to confirm a specific date for the introduction of legislation on increasing the retirement age for public servants.

Deputy Cowen said, “Under the current regime public servants face a mandatory retirement once they reach 65 years of age. However, these same workers have to wait until they reach 66 before they can start receiving their pension. This leaves them with a full year where they are left with no income.

“This issue will be exacerbated in the coming years when the pensionable age will increase further to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. We have the current ludicrous situation whereby people being forced to retire are signing on for Jobseeker Allowance for the intervening year. The situation is unsustainable and is putting huge financial strain on people.

“In December of last year Minister Donohoe announced that he was increasing the mandatory retirement age to 70 years. This announcement was welcome but here we are nearly six months later and there has been no sign of the legislation required to put this commitment into effect. It is vital that this Bill is passed before the summer recess. There are many cohorts of public sector workers who will be approaching retirement in September. These workers want to continue to work until they can claim their pension but cannot until the legislation is put in place.

“Minister Donohoe announced today that he expects the legislation to be published in June but no solid date has been given. This means that it is highly questionable this legislation will be passed before the summer recess. It is imperative that when the Bill is published, permission is sought from the Oireachtas Committee to waive the need for pre-legislative scrutiny and this is what I put to the Minister today in the Dáil,” concluded Deputy Cowen.