The Irish Government has attempted to simplify Irish pensions several times, most recently with the introduction PRSA’s in 2003. Unfortunately, the end result is that pensions and their retirement ages are more confusing than ever, and with plans to simplify pensions again in the coming months, it’s a good time to take a look at  the current pension types and their retirement ages.

There are 4 types of pensions in Ireland:

  • The state pension
  • Pensions from self-employment
  • Pensions from employment
  • Semi state and civil service pensions


1.  State Pension – Retirement Age 66 (currently)

There are two types of state pension:

  • State Pension (Contributory) is paid to people from the age of 66 who have enough Irish social insurance contributions.
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory) is the means-tested State Pension (Non-Contributory) is a payment for people aged over 66 who do not qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) or who only qualify for a reduced contributory pension based on their insurance record.

The State Pension Retirement age is currently age 66.

  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1955 the minimum qualifying State pension age will be 67
  • If you were born on or after 1 January 1961 the minimum qualifying State pension age will be 68

2.  Pensions From Employment – Retirement Age From 50

Commonly known as Occupational Pension Schemes, there are a number of types of occupational pension schemes:

  • Defined Contribution Pension Scheme
  • Defined Benefit Pension Scheme
  • Executive Pension Scheme
  • Self-Administered Pension Scheme
  • Occupational Personal Retirement Savings Accounts
  • Deferred occupational Pensions.
  • Personal Retirement Bond*

The earliest retirement age for occupational pension schemes is age 50. 

But the trustees may not allow early retirement directly from the scheme, in which case, a transfer to a Personal Retirement Bond will allow retirement from age 50.

*There is also a pension called a Personal Retirement Bond. Although the name does suggest that it is Personal, benefits in Personal Retirement Bonds are transferred from Occupational Pension Schemes. Some of the rules follow into the Personal Retirement bonds and the retirement age of these is the earliest retirement age that the scheme allowed (usually 50).

3.  Pension From Self-Employment – Retirement Age From 60

  • Personal Pensions
  • Personal Retirement Savings Accounts

Personal Pensions were traditionally for self-employed people and those whose employment didn’t provide an occupational pension scheme. PRSA’s were then introduced to take over from Personal Pensions for those in non pensionable employment.

There is no way to change the retirement age of a pension from self-employed income.

4.  Semi State & Civil Service Pensions

Semi-state pensions (such as the HSE) and civil service pensions are similar to occupational pension schemes. They have a set retirement age but do not allow a transfer to a Personal Retirement bond. The retirement age is usually set in stone.

What about you?

If you are unsure of your retirement age, or you are in a scheme that won’t let you retire at the age you want, you have options, but may need some professional advice.  At we specialise in providing expert advice to assist people who wish to retire.  Contact us and we can help you.