The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, has said the Government has no plans to increase the retirement age.

A new report by the Society of Actuaries in Ireland has recommended raising the retirement age to 75 by 2050 in order to fund future pensions.

The minister defended the Government's record on pension planning and said that in broad terms, the public pension system appeared to be financially sustainable.

At present fewer than half a million people in Ireland are over 65 - the official retirement age. But by 2050, experts forecast this number will rise to over 1.25 million - meaning one in every three adults will be a pensioner.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions described the idea of raising the retirement age as 'harebrained', saying people paying into the PRSI system had a legitimate expectation of an adequate pension.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Fergus Whelan of ICTU said raising the age would constitute a breach of trust between the Government and its citizens, and would be morally wrong.

Paul Murray of Age Action Ireland said that people should not be forced to work into their mid seventies, but that delaying retirement should be a matter of choice.