Pensions in Ireland

The pension system in Ireland is a multi faceted and sometimes complex one.  However over recent years moves have been made to make the process of planning and applying for both pension entitlements and setting up private pension funds an easier one for everybody.

Broadly speaking most people’s pensions come from one or more of the following, a company pension plan, a personal pension plan and / or the State pension.

A company pension plan

In general, large employers in Ireland have company pension schemes but many smaller employers do not. Each scheme has its own set of rules and is regulated by the Pensions Board. Contributions paid into approved schemes are usually paid through payroll and as a result you will receive immediate relief from tax, PRSI and health levies.

A personal pension plan

  • RAC – Retirement Annuity Contract.  These are generally suitable for a self employed trade or profession, or for an employee not being pensioned by a company pension plan
  • PRSA – Personal Retirement Savings Account.  Every adult under the age of 75 can take out a PRSA and unlike RACs there is no requirement to have taxable earnings.

The State Pension

There are three types; Transition, Contributory and Non-contributory.
For further information please contact the Department of Social Protection (Pensions Section)
Phone: 00353 (0)71 915-7100 or Lo-call: 1890-500-000
Contact information: Department of Social Protection – Retired and older people

The Pensions Board

The Pensions Board regulates occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts in Ireland as part of their statutory role to monitor and supervise operation of the Pensions Act.

The Pension Board’s website, www.pensionsboard.ie , contains the following information:

  • Links to pension providers
  • Downloadable booklets and guides e.g. checklists, consumer guide, leaving your pension, pension options
  • Pension calculators
  • FAQs e.g. Women & Pensions, Occupational Pensions, Part Time Work & Pensions, PRSAs

Additional benefits for pensioners

As a pensioner in Ireland you may also be entitled to some extra payments and benefits.  You may also be able to claim extra benefits if you are maintaining your spouse, partner or former partner.  E.g. Free Travel, Free Travel Companion Pass, Cross-Border All Ireland Free Travel, Household Benefits Package – allowances for Electricity, Gas, Telephone and Free TV licence, National Fuel Scheme, Medical Card, Supplementary Welfare Allowance. Please visit Department of Social Protection – Retired and older people for further information.

Frontier Workers

If you have worked in one or more EU states your social insurance contributions from each EU state will help you qualify for a pension. For further information please visit the Citizens Information Board website – Combining social insurance contributions from abroad

Southern Resident

A Southern resident working in Northern Ireland is eligible to apply for the UK pension when they reach the UK pensionable age – UK State Pension Age Calculator  They should make their application for the UK pension via the Department of Social Protection, Pension Section based in Sligo – tel:  00353 (0)71 915-7100 or Lo-call: 1890-500-000

When they reach Irish retirement age they can then apply via Sligo for their Irish pension. The Pensions Section will contact the UK for a record of Social Insurance Contributions paid in Northern Ireland.  This information will then be used to assess the pension application and a pro-rata pension may be awarded.

Northern Resident

A Northern Resident working in the South is eligible to apply for an Irish Pension when they reach the Irish pensionable age.  They should contact the UK International Overseas Pensions Centre  which can make the application on their behalf – Telephone 0191 218 7777

When they reach the UK age of retirement (UK State Pension Age Calculator ) they can contact the UK International Overseas Pensions Centre (Telephone: 0191 218 7777) to make an application for a UK pension. To be eligible they should have paid at least one year’s National Insurance contributions in Northern Ireland or the UK.  The Pensions Centre will contact the Southern Authorities for a record of Social Insurance Contributions paid and a pro-rata pension may then be awarded.

Please also check the following Border People webpages for further information on cross border pensions

See also:

Page last checked: February 2016

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North /  South

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.