Galway TD calls for abolition of mandatory retirement

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A Galway TD has said that a ban on mandatory retirement would be a viable alternative to raising the pension age in Ireland.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said in the Dáil that the ratio of workers to people in receipt of the state pension will decline significantly in the future.

This was base on information in the final report of the Commission on Pensions, which said that ratio of 4.5 worker to every pensioner now, will decline to 2.3 workers per pensioner by 2050.

Deputy Naughten, who chairs the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, said that increasing the qualifying age for the state pension, while providing alternative payments, would undermine the argument for the first move,

“For me, the bigger issue here is that if we remove the forced requirement to retire at 65, I believe that many workers, will continue to remain in employment,” Denis Naughten said.

He said that the “changing nature” of work in Ireland, moving from manual labour to more tech based, and often remote work, lets people continue to work for longer.

On top of that, the “financial realities” of living in Ireland mean that people will have to work for longer, Denis Naughten added.

The Committee has recommended that legislation be brought forward to remove compulsory retirement clauses from contracts, he added.

“Furthermore, we are recommending that this legislation must be retrospective and apply to current contracts as well as new ones.”

“The committee believes that those over the age of 65 years who wish to remain in employment should have no legal barrier to doing so.”

He said that they heard evidence of “physical and mental health impacts” that people have suffered as a result of forced retirement.

As to question of whether keeping older people in work longer closes off opportunities to younger people, Deputy Naughten said that the private sector could “take a leaf out of the public sector book” on this issue.

He said that the civil service has addressed this issue by having senior positions filled on a seven year basis, allowing “new thinking and younger people” to compete for these roles.