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Pensions Reform

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 3 December 2020

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Questions (16)

James O'Connor


16. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider requests to include representatives from organisations (details supplied) on the Pensions Commission. [40144/20]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Deputy will be aware of how critically important it is to ensure that the State Pension system provides adequate support to pensioners and that it continues to do that over the long term. The Pensions Commission was established to examine sustainability and eligibility issues with the State Pension and the Social Insurance Fund, in fulfillment of our Programme for Government commitment. These issues will be considered from a perspective of fiscal and social sustainability, and intergenerational fairness. I was delighted to meet the members at its virtual inaugural meeting last week. Membership in the Commission includes representation of workers, employers, civil society, academics and those with technical and policy expertise. It should be noted that the membership also includes those with involvement in organisations supporting older people. It is imperative that the Commission has the required expertise to progress its work and is independent in its deliberations. I was keen to ensure that the Commission had strong female representation in its membership, and I am pleased that the majority of members – 6 out of 11 – are women. The secretariat to the Commission comprised of 3 staff from my Department are all female. I am satisfied that the Commission, with its gender-balanced membership and extensive experience of social and public policy, is well equipped to grasp the potential impacts of any pensions reform options on affected groups, such as women, workers, and older people. It is of particular importance to consider the impact of any potential changes to the State Pension system on those who rely on it for all or most of their income. As part of its work, the Commission has been asked to seek the views of recognised experts and representative groups by inviting submissions and presentations including from the organisations referenced in the Deputies questions. The findings from this process will form a key component of the Commission’s deliberations. The exact mechanisms for this consultation will be shaped by the Commission in due course. I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.