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State Pensions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 3 February 2022

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Questions (40, 71)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

40. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the status of the Report of the Commission on Pensions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5395/22]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

71. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection the engagement she has held with her officials on pension reform since the publication of the Commission on Pensions report. [5352/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 71 together.

The Pensions Commission was established in November 2020 to examine the sustainability of the State Pension system and the Social Insurance Fund, in fulfilment of a Programme for Government commitment. The Commission was an independent body comprised of knowledgeable and experienced academics, pension experts, members of civil society and representatives of workers and employers. Once it completed its work and fulfilled its obligations, the Commission was dissolved. The Commission's Report was published on 7th October 2021. The report, Technical Sub-Committee's working papers and submissions made to the Pensions Commission are available on the website, pensionscommission.gov.ie.

The Commission’s Report is a comprehensive report that takes account of an assessment of various analyses of population, labour force and expenditure projections; an examination of international approaches; and responses to an extensive consultation process. It has unambiguously established that the current State Pension system is not sustainable into the future and that changes are needed, and it has set out a wide range of recommendations in this regard.

The report has been referred to the Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands. That Committee published its views yesterday. I and my officials will obviously include these in our deliberations over the coming weeks. Separately, as set out in its terms of reference, the Commission on Taxation and Welfare is considering the report of the Pensions Commission in the context of its review of potential changes to the social insurance system.

In the interests both of older people and of future generations of older people, the Government intends to consider the comprehensive and far reaching recommendations in the Pensions Commission’s Report very carefully and holistically. My officials are currently examining each of the recommendations and in this regard are consulting across Government through the Cabinet Committee system. I think it is really important that we complete that work before reaching conclusions. I intend bringing a recommended response and implementation plan to Government by the end of March 2022.

The State Pension is the bedrock of the pension system in Ireland. It is extremely effective at ensuring that our pensioners do not experience poverty. This Government is committed to ensuring that this remains the case for current pensioners, those nearing State Pension age and today’s young workers including those who are only starting their careers.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputies.

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