A new coalition of groups led by the country's largest trade union SIPTU has called on political parties to halt the rise in the State pension qualification age to 67 next year.

The 'STOP67' campaign includes the National Women's Council of Ireland, Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland.

The coalition said the controversial pension reforms not only leave retirees at a loss of around €45 per week until the State pension eventually kicks in, but are also degrading in forcing them to apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit.

It dismissed suggestions that the reforms were required to address a pensions time bomb.

SIPTU economist Michael Taft noted that Ireland has the youngest population in Europe, but one of the highest pension qualification ages.

The National Women’s Council said the reforms hit women disproportionately, while Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland noted the additional stress for retirees.

SIPTU General Secretary Joe Cunningham called on politicians - particularly from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael - to give an unequivocal commitment that they will stop next January’s pension age increase.

He also called for a stakeholder's forum - including unions, employers and civil society - to chart a new way forward on pensions.

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