Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 08 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Age Discrimination.

  260. Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if legislation is planned to end age discrimination in employment and vocational training associated with forced retirement at 65 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4573/06]

  Mr. Killeen: There is no age discrimination in employments rights legislation and there is no compulsory retirement age. Such legislation describes an employee as “a person of any age who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, entered into or worked under) a contract of employment. . .”.

In some employments, a “normal retirement age” exists for that employment only. In such cases, the normal age of retirement can be below or above 65 years of age, in order to give flexibility to employers and employees, having due regard to the nature of the work being performed. In these circumstances, I do not propose to introduce legislation to set a mandatory retirement age.

The upper age limit of 66 for bringing claims under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2001 was removed by the Equality Act 2004. The effect of this is that a person who is over the age of 66 [704] when dismissed is not excluded from taking a case under the Unfair Dismissals Acts unless he or she has already reached the normal retirement age for that employment, if one exists.

With regard to vocational training, there is no upper age restriction on access to the Department’s in-company training schemes or to FÁS vocational training programmes.