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Press Statement


20 April 2018

Estimates of Irish Pension Liabilities 2015

Total accrued-to-date liabilities of occupational pension schemes in Ireland were estimated at €436.3bn at the end of 2015
  • The total liability equated to 167% of GDP or 252% of GNI*
  • State pension schemes amounted to 53% of the total liability (€231bn)
  • Public service defined benefit schemes made up 26% of the total liability (€114.5bn)
  • Non – government or private pension schemes equated to 21% of the total liability (€90.8bn)
  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (20 April 2018) published, for the first time, Estimates of Irish Pension Liabilities 2015. The publication brings together data on occupational pension schemes and shows the amount owing to households by private employers and government at the end of 2015 based on the pension benefits they have built up to that date.

    Commenting, Claire Hanley, Statistician said:
    “This new table on pensions has been compiled by all EU member states for the end of 2015. It is designed to supplement the National Accounts and improve the comparability of pension schemes throughout the EU.

    Ireland’s total accrued-to-date pension liability was €436.3 billion or 167% of GDP (252% of GNI*) at the end of 2015. As in many countries, a significant portion of the liability relates to government managed schemes which totalled €345.5 billion or 132% of GDP at the end of 2015. Ireland’s liability as a percentage of GDP is low relative to other countries, reflecting Ireland’s comparatively young population.

    In comparison, the UK results published in March 2018 show the total accrued-to-date liability of UK pension providers was £7.6 trillion or 400% of UK GDP at the end of 2015. The liabilities of UK government-run pension schemes totalled £5.3 trillion or 279% of UK GDP in the same period.

    It is important to note that these liabilities of government are not considered to be liabilities in the sense of a debt which has been borrowed and has to be repaid; they are deemed to represent the pension commitments of government as outlined by current pension rules and regulations.”

    For further information contact:

    Claire Hanley (+353) 1 498 4369

    or email

    -- ENDS --