The Government has today published the Report of the Commission on Pensions.
The Independent Commission, chaired by Ms Josephine Feehily, was established in November 2020 on foot of a commitment in the Programme for Government.
The Pensions Commission was asked to develop options for Government to consider in order to address the sustainability of the State Pension system and the Social Insurance Fund (SIF).
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, submitted the Report to Government today seeking approval to publish and agreeing the next steps to be taken by Government.
In publishing the report, Minister Humphreys said:
“The State Pension is valued by all of society and it is the bedrock of the pension system in Ireland. It is extremely effective at preventing pensioners from falling into poverty and we want to make sure that this stays the case into the future.
“There are clear challenges in ensuring the sustainability of the State Pension for future generations. This has been known for years and confirmed in the Report of the Commission on Pensions.”
In terms of next steps, the Government has agreed that the Report will be sent to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection to seek its views on the recommendations.
Given that changes to the pension funding model should be considered as part of a wider review of the tax and social insurance system, the Government has also agreed that the Commission on Taxation and Social Welfare will be asked for its view on some of the recommendations.
In considering the Report produced by the Commission, Minister Humphreys said:
“I would like to thank the Chair, Ms. Josephine Feehily, and all of the Commission members for producing a report that sets out evidence based options and recommendations for the Government to consider, in line with its Terms of Reference. This Government will now carefully consider the Report’s recommendations and findings.”
Ms. Josephine Feehily, Chair of the Pensions Commission said:
“Irish people are living longer and staying well and healthy for longer which is really good news. It presents great opportunities but also a big challenge for all of us: how to make sure that the State Pension continues to prevent poverty when there are many more people drawing it for many more years.
“The Commission considers that it would be a strategic risk not to plan and provide for this known issue. The Commission has made several recommendations in this report to shore up the fiscal sustainability of the State Pension system based on the values of social solidarity.”
“I would like to express my gratitude to all those individuals and groups who took the time to respond to the public consultation process. I would also like to thank all of my colleagues on the Commission for their commitment and dedication to producing this report.”
The Commission’s report will now be referred to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment, for consideration over the next 6 months with a view to bringing a recommended response and implementation plan to Government by end of March 2022.
This is in line with the Programme for Government commitment that it will take action with regard to the recommendations of the Commission within six months of receipt of the Report.
The Report is now available online, along with the four Working Papers produced by the Commission’s Technical Sub-Committee, and the over 200 submissions received by the Commission from individuals and organisations in response to its public consultation process.
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Note for Editor
The Pensions Commission was established in November 2020, fulfilling a Programme for Government commitment to “examine sustainability and eligibility issues …. and outline options for the Government to address issues including qualifying age, contribution rates, total contributions and eligibility requirements”.
The Chair of the Commission was Ms. Josephine Feehily and the membership of the Commission included representation of workers, employers, civil society, academics and those with technical and policy expertise.
The Commission also held a public consultation process, including a virtual Stakeholder Forum. The submissions received as part of the public consultation process have been published on the Commission’s website – www.pensionscommission.gov.ie .
Link to the Report of the Commission on Pensions and associated documents – www.gov.ie/PensionsCommissionReport