Seanad debates

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018: [Seanad Bill amended by the Dáil] Report and Final Stages

 

12:55 pm

Photo of Alice Mary HigginsAlice Mary Higgins (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I support this amendment and commend the Minister of State on waiving the commencement provision to ensure this Bill is enacted early.

I am concerned at the reference to the question of whether we should or should not have had an interim arrangement. The key point for me is the point at which we realised and accepted the policy intent that we want to ensure persons can work until the age of 70. I am not suggesting we change this legislation to address this matter.

In the solutions that have been sought I have noticed that the focus has been on the interim arrangement. The key question is whether those who went over the threshold of 65 years during that period opted for the interim arrangement. I know the Minister of State does not want to create division or inequity, but the way to solve this may be to widen the frame to include all those who turned 65 years during the period in which the policy intent was there and to offer them a route back. That may well mean returning pension contributions. As Senator Horkan said, not everyone will take that option but I accept that an option may need to be offered to all of those affected during the one-year period. Again, it is not a large number. We should change the frame and be less concerned about the interim arrangement and about who did or did not take it. We should look to the collective policy intent and to finding a solution that will address the issue for everybody who turned 65. That is how we might find our solution.

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