MLAs to decide on firefighters' retirement age
The Assembly is set to go its own way on one aspect of public sector pensions – the retirement age for firefighters.
It came after an official review indicated that up to 85% of firefighters between 55 and 60 would not be able to maintain the fitness standards required to conduct their duties.
Daithí McKay, chair of the Stormont committee on pensions, said: "The link with Westminster in regard to normal pension age leaves us at the mercy of the British Government there. I am particularly glad to see that other parties accepted our argument that pension age for firefighters should be decided upon at a local level through regulations.
"There is a public safety aspect to the issue of firefighters that have to work until their later years in life."
The SDLP's Dominic Bradley added: "Working beyond 55 is not attainable by most current firefighters, and working beyond 60 is a serious ask for police officers.
"Between half and two-thirds of current firefighters would not be fit enough to work beyond 55, and because of the small size of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, redeployment to back office jobs is not possible for that number of individuals."