SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, has welcomed the Government’s decision to retain the pension age at 66. Ms Buckley said that the proposal to allow workers to remain in employment until they reach 70, while allowing those in arduous jobs earlier access to pensions, is also welcome. “This long-awaited decision is a vindication of the campaign by SIPTU members, along with our partners in the STOP67 coalition, to prevent the increase in the pension age,” she said.  “Although further details are required, these proposals also appear to bring an end to the mandatory retirement of workers who can now remain in employment until 70 and receive enhanced and incremental pension payments for doing so. “It is unclear how this will affect workers on existing employment contracts, but it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. We are also concerned about ensuring pension equity for those who have no choice but to retire earlier than 66 years. “It is important that the essential work of long-term carers, mainly women, will now be recognised and that, for the first time, they will be provided with their pension entitlements. “The Minister has indicated that the costs of the revised pension system will be met through increases in PRSI although these will not be introduced while the current cost of living crisis persists.  “We look forward to engaging with government on this challenge and ensuring that employers and the self-employed contribute to the Social Insurance Fund on the same basis as their EU counterparts.”