Sometimes you can withdraw your pension as early as 50 but you would need approval from your employer/revenue for this. If you are permanently unable to work or terminally sick you may be able to retire at any time with approval from revenue.
In Ireland you receive tax relief on your retirement savings, therefore withdrawing your funds early is not encouraged and is usually only allowed if the person in question is ill, for example a long-term disability. If you have a serious illness, then you can access your pension plan at any age. Otherwise, you have to wait until you are 50 to draw down your pension if you are in an occupational scheme and you must be 60 if you have a PRSA (50 if you are an employee and leaving service) or an annuity.
“Liberating” your pension is something you may be considering, however this is extremely risky. People who are experiencing financial hardship sometimes look at this option. It is basically a way of unlocking your pension and companies offer to do this by transferring money through other jurisdictions ( not Ireland) This is not without risk and should not be undertaken lightly, and without independent professional legal and tax advice.
Planning your retirement is an important step to take. It is never too late to start planning your pension and by doing so this will ensure you have the financial stability and lifestyle you want.