Deputy Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin TD for Carlow and Kilkenny has said that plans to increase the age at which workers are entitled to a State pension to 68 are 'wrong, unfair and don't represent the values of the Irish people.'
Deputy Funchion has said: "It should be the unquestioned right of any 65-year-old to retire on a State pension if they so wish. At that age, we will all have done our heavy lifting, we will have worked hard, paid our bills and paid our taxes to this State.
"Fine Gael - supported by Fianna Fáil - don't see it that way. They don't believe that 65 year olds are entitled to a State pension, and they don't believe that people who have worked for more than four decades deserve it.
"In 2014, Fine Gael raised the pensionable age to 66. They have spent their time in government attacking the entitlements of retirees while ensuring that millionaire business executives are treated to cushy tax breaks.
"In contrast, Sinn Féin has spent our time in opposition fighting for retirees tooth and tail. This is because we understand that we are not talking about some abstract age bracket on a page.
"We are talking about our parents, our grandparents and our families.
"We are talking about our friends and our neighbours.
"We are talking about people who have provided the resources to build our hospitals, our schools and our roads.
"They are entitled to respect and dignity.
"They shouldn't be put on a jobseekers' payments for two years.
"Sinn Féin is standing up for workers, and we are standing up for a fair and respectful State pension age.
"In government, Sinn Féin will reintroduce the State pension for 65 year olds who choose to retire and we will legislate to protect the rights of those who wish to keep working."