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Green paper or amber light for pensions? Back  
With the Government’s Green Paper on pensions due to be published in September, the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) is holding a conference on October 2nd to discuss the issues arising from the paper.
The issue of pensions formed a major component of the National Pay talks in 2006. Indeed at one stage the issue threatened to prevent any agreement being reached. However, when Towards 2016 was finally agreed it included a commitment from the Government to issue a Green Paper on pensions. The work in relation to the preparation of the Green Paper was headed by the Department of the Taoiseach. It was originally envisaged that this would be published around Easter but this was deferred because of the general election. It is now intended that the Green Paper will be published in September.

There are huge challenges ahead for pension systems throughout Europe and Ireland is no different. People are living longer at the same time as people are having fewer children. This will result in the working population becoming much smaller relative to the retired population.
In 2006 there were 4.3 people in work for every 1 person aged over 65. In 2056 this is estimated to be 1.4 people in work for every 1 person aged over 65. As people live longer the cost of providing pensions has risen and this has placed a lot of strain on traditional types of employer sponsored pension provision.

While the State pension has risen considerably in recent years it will not be sufficient on its own to allow most people to maintain their lifestyle in retirement. As only just over 50 per cent of the working population have supplementary pension coverage there may be serious issues ahead for the country if this issue is not tackled now. Ireland does have a window of opportunity in that our ratio of workers to retired people does not fall as rapidly as in most other European countries. It is important that this opportunity is availed of and is not wasted. The Green Paper should be the initial step in this process.

On October 2nd, the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) is holding a major conference which will be the first time that these issues will be debated publicly following the publication of the Green Paper.

It will be addressed by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs who has responsibility in this area, Martin Cullen T.D. and by the Social Partners and industry experts. The conference will also look at issues to consider when addressing the challenges ahead for trustees, whilst taking account of current national and European issues affecting pension funds and employers.

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