As the Deputy is aware, the public policy and social issues in relation to funding a sustainable and adequate State pension system are complex. As a consequence, the Programme for Government commits to establishing a Commission on Pensions to examine a range of issues including sustainability, eligibility, contributions and calculation methods.
The Terms of Reference for the Commission on Pensions are currently being developed and options for its membership are being considered. Proposals will be brought to Government in that regard as soon as possible. Once it has concluded its deliberations, the Commission will report to Government by June of next year.
Amongst other things, I will be proposing to Government for appropriate stakeholder representation within the Commission. In addition, it is anticipated that the Commission will engage with key stakeholders to ensure it has a genuine understanding of the sustainability challenges involved. The exact mechanisms for these engagement processes will be shaped by the Commission.
It should be noted that while this Government is acutely conscious of the need to consider the sustainability of the State’s finances, this is not the only consideration when thinking of the State pension. 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. The Government is committed to ensuring that this remains the case. In this regard, it is important to note that as well as financial and economic sustainability, the Government is fully aware of the need to have regard for the social sustainability of any proposed policy changes, which includes aspects such as intergenerational equity and legitimate expectations by society around future living standards.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.