The Republic of Ireland's national debt could be set to quadruple in future decades if costs related to the aging population are not contained, a new study by a global agency has found.

The Standard & Poor's new report warns that if pension and retirement policies are not reformed the countries national debt will continue to soar.

The new research has warned that costs incurred by the current banking crisis will be dwarfed by the health care and pension costs triggered by the aging Irish population. By 2050 age-related spending will have almost doubled.

"No other force is likely to shape the future of national economic health, public finances, and policy making, as the irreversible rate at which the world's population is aging,'' said the authors.

The Standard & Poor's study concluded that people may be forced to retire later rather than earlier.

"We expect that a crucial growth-friendly policy that many governments will have to embrace is to find ways to encourage their people to remain active members of the labour force for many more years than is the norm today," it said.

The Standard & Poor's has offices in over 20 countries and holds a strong focus on investor needs as well as providing independent worldwide credit ratings.