The pressure on the government and Fianna Fáil to abandon the plans to increase the pension qualifying age is rapidly ramping up in the white heat of the election campaign.
Ministers and other politicians involved, as well as the senior civil servants behind it, have only themselves to blame for the public anger against them.
Incredibly, it emerged in recent days that the rules were changed so that public servants can retire at 63 and get a supplemental pension. Unlike the ordinary person in the street, they can draw this till the state contributory pension kicks in at 66, as at present or, soon at 67. This is totally unfair and inequitable.
WE have been saying here for some time that anger has been building about the arbitrary increase in the pension qualifying age to 66.
Under pressure from the growing furore, last night Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty confirmed that a proposed new Transition Pension will be introduced for those who retire at 66 and will be set at a rate equivalent to the Contributory State Pension.
“During the consultative phase for our current pensions reform - for a new total contributions model – the issue of those who retire at 66, yet have to wait until the official pension age to receive their state pension, arose on a number of occasions," the Minister said. "Having worked on alternatives and having secured the agreement of party colleagues, we decided on a new transition payment to resolve this issue.
“I can confirm that this new transition pension will be paid at a rate equivalent to the Contributory State Pension. This change provides financial certainty to people retiring at 66.”
But will this be enough to appease the electorate?