SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has written to Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, asking her to outline what action she is taking to reduce the pension age in the North.
Mr Durkan said Sinn Féin have displayed a hypocrisy in their policies on the pension age in the North and the South.
His remarks follow a private members motion tabled by Sinn Féin TDs in the Dáil calling for the restoration of the right to retire at 65, while their MLAs in the North voted unanimously to increase the pension age back in 2012.
The Foyle MLA commented:
“Once more Sinn Féin have spoken from both sides of their mouth - in their attempts to grasp onto populist rhetoric, the party in the Republic have called for a reduction in the pension age, completely ignoring the fact that their Northern colleagues voted unanimously alongside the DUP, Alliance and UUP to raise the state pension age to 66.
“The SDLP voted against this change because we knew the detrimental impact this legislation would have and has had on so many of our citizens.
“Given that Sinn Féin claim to support workers and workers’ rights, I was particularly disappointed in their stance on this legislation. When push comes to shove, this sentiment is not reflected in their actions.
“The pension legislation here is yet another example of the Sinn Féin leadership rubberstamping Tory policies. Time and time again opportunities have been missed to protect people from the worst of Tory austerity - including the shambolic roll out of Universal Credit, Bedroom Tax, the cruel two child policy and the inability to close the welfare mitigation loopholes in a timely manner.
“The smoke and mirrors tactics employed by Communities Minister Hargey not only does a disservice to people here, it does a disservice to their faith in politics. I hope she will heed the calls from myself and others to reconsider reducing the pension age.”