Deputy Peter Burke, Chartered Accountant and TD for Longford Westmeath has this morning welcomed the announcement from Minster for Finance Paschal Donohoe that compulsory retirement for public servants is being examined with a view to extending the age from 65 to 70.
Burke says that this is welcome news for his constituents:
“This common-sense announcement today is great news for public servants who are currently forced to retire at 65 and who feel they have more to contribute at that stage. I have been contacted by a number of public servants, predominantly teachers and civil servants, since my election who were forced to retire at 65 when they felt they were willing and able to contribute more. By allowing employees to stay on, we are harnessing their vast experience and commitment to the profession.
“It is important to point out that no public servant will be required to stay on passed 65, but the option will be available to them when they reach that period in their career.
“As public health continues to improve and people are living longer, we need to address this both financially and practically. It is common now for people to leave up to 30 and 40 years passed the traditional retirement age, often in very good health. This very positive “problem” creates issues with pensions, but also means that people in their 60s and 70s are now a lot more active and healthy than those in this age brackets in earlier years. The new option being proposed by Fine Gael for public servants also allows people to have more financial independence in their later years.
“By comprehensively addressing compulsory retirement, it also allows a large group of people overcome the current anomaly of not being able to receive their state pension until a year after retirement. I know this has caused unease from many employees who, having worked all their lives, are reluctant to sign on for stamps and unemployment benefit between finishing employment and beginning their state pension. People should not be forced to do this.
“I welcome my colleague Paschal Donohoe’s commitment to this issue after commissioning a review of this issue earlier in the year. Compulsory retirement for public servants has been mandatory at 65 for decades and Fine Gael’s common sense and pragmatic approach will see a major shift in this policy for good”.