SIPTU and a coalition of eight other representative bodies came together to highlight a serious problem in the pension scheme for new entrants to several essential public services at the launch of the Secure Our Services campaign outside Dáil Éireann on 8th May.

The campaign represents workers employed in the Garda Síochána, Defence Forces, Prison Service and Fire Brigades.

SIPTU Organiser, Geoff McEvoy, said: “Members who joined these services after 2013 are facing serious financial hardship in the first years of their retirement. This is due to their fast accrual pension schemes making insufficient allowance for their contractual earlier retirement ages.

Dublin Fire Brigade firefighter and paramedic, Aisling Buffini, said: Because I joined the service in 2020, I am one of those affected by a pension shortfall. Most days I’m sitting in a fire appliance or in an ambulance beside somebody with a pension which allows them to be optimistic about their financial security in the future. I can’t be as optimistic because when I retire at 55, I will only get half my pension for the first 11 years of my retirement.

She added: “The reason for a retirement age set at 55 in these services is due to the immense physical and mental toll our work can have. An average work day for us is someone else’s worst nightmare. Day in day out we’re faced with the unimaginable. Our dual role as firefighters and paramedics means we see it all. We like to think it doesn’t affect us but it does.

Picture: Members of the Securing Our Futures campaign outside Government Buildings in Dublin 2 on 8th May.