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“Pension Age for Garda and Defence Force Personnel Raised to 62, Army Opens Doors for Recruitment Until Age 39”

Dublin: In response to the crisis precipitated by diminishing personnel numbers, the government has opted to extend the tenure of employees within the Garda, Defence Force, and Prison Service. This decision, announced by Ministers Helen McEntee, Micheál Martin, and Pascal Donohoe, entails adjustments to pension ages and recruitment policies.

Under the new directive, the pension age for Garda officers will be raised to 62, up from the current 60, while for defence personnel, it will increase to 60. Additionally, the age for joining the forces will be elevated to 39 years. Minister Donohoe clarified that the implementation of a fast accrual pension policy within the departments would facilitate this extension, offering uniformed personnel the choice to continue serving beyond 60. However, their pension accrual would transition from fast accrual to a standard basis if they opt to continue service past this age.

The government’s decision has garnered widespread approval. Justice Minister Helen McEntee highlighted its potential to enhance operational efficiency by retaining the expertise and capabilities of experienced personnel. Antoinette Cunningham, General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, echoed this sentiment, emphasising the enthusiasm among members to continue serving beyond 60 and the benefits it would bring in addressing staffing shortages.

Defence Minister Micheál Martin hailed the move as a crucial step in tackling recruitment and retention challenges. Lt. Gen. Sean Clancy, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, expressed satisfaction with the decision, noting its potential to ensure the availability of experienced and skilled personnel for extended periods, thereby bolstering career prospects.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the government has enacted legislation allowing willing workers in Ireland to continue working until the age of 66. Proposed by Enterprise Minister Simon Cowan and approved by the cabinet, the General Scheme of Employment (Restriction of Certain Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2023 abolishes mandatory retirement age provisions. Employers are now obliged to offer employees the opportunity to prolong their service if they express a desire to continue working. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) welcomed this move, signalling a significant shift in retirement policies towards greater flexibility and employee empowerment.

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