Thursday, 5 November 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
113. Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Labour if he will introduce a Bill to make discrimination in employment, on the ground of age illegal; and the steps, if any, he will take to end all upper age limits in State employments.
Minister for Labour (Mr. Cowen): I have no plans to introduce legislation to provide for the prohibition of age limits in employment as I do not believe that the introduction of additional regulations would be an appropriate means of countering negative perceptions among some employers about the capabilities of older workers.
Where a legislative approach has been adopted, as in the USA, it stemmed from demographic concerns and fears about the practice of prematurely terminating the employment of older people. No similar circumstances apply in Ireland, where the demographic structure is markedly different to that in the USA in the late 1960s.
The commitment in the Programme for Economic and Social Progress to increase upper age limits for recruitment to the public service is being implemented. This will provide a stimulus to both the wider public and private sectors. The upper age limits for recruitment to most posts have been increased to 50 years for the Civil Service, health boards and local authorities.
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