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  • Northside East

Pension increase demanded in budget 

Wednesday, 27th September, 2017 8:00am
Pension increase demanded  in budget 

Dick O’Leary, from Coolock. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Pension increase demanded  in budget 

Dick O’Leary, from Coolock. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

A NORTHSIDE senior citizen is pleading with the Government to increase the State pension in next month’s budget.

Dick O’Leary, from Ferrycarrig, Coolock, has also backed Age Action’s calls for restoration of older people’s incomes after years of cutbacks.

Earlier this year hundreds of Age Action members met across the country and agreed their priorities for this year’s budget, which have been costed and published. In Budget 2018, Age Action is seeking:

• An increase in the State Pension by €5, working towards the Government’s target of a pension at 35 per cent of average earnings.

• An increase in the Living Alone Allowance by €3 to support those older people most at risk of poverty.

• The reversal of the 2012 cuts to the State Pension which have cut the incomes of tens of thousands of pensioners.

• An increase in home help hours to provide the service to an additional 22,300 people in 2018.

• The introduction of a reablement programme to support 16,000 older people to live independently.

Mr O’Leary said he would support Age Action’s list of priorities.   

“The State Pension is ridiculously low,” he told Northside People. 

“I think an increase of €5 would be very much welcomed by senior citizens. Pensioners are struggling to meet their bills and it has been like that for some time. After I retired my income dropped big time and it has been very difficult to survive financially.”

Mr O’Leary also argued that senior citizens would be less of a burden on the health service if they had a higher income to eat better quality food.

“I am not eating as well as I did before I retired and there are a lot of people in that situation,” he said. “The money just isn’t there. 

“This message needs to be taken on board by the Department of Finance and the Department of Health. The whole system needs to be looked at. The cost of living is too high.” 

Mr O’Leary believes the Fuel Allowance is not worth talking about.

“It’s a pittance,” he added. “The Telephone Allowance is minimal as well.”

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, pointed out that the income of an older person on the State Pension and the Household Benefits Package today is still less than it was in 2009.

“Cuts to income supports like the Fuel Allowance and the Telephone Allowance, combined with rising prices and new taxes, are driving ever more older people into poverty,” said Mr Moran.

“CSO figures show a steady increase in poverty levels among the over 65s from 2013 to the latest report for 2015.

“Pensioners are increasingly afraid of being taxed out of their homes or of being forced into a nursing home because there are no home supports available.”

Mr Moran added: “Next month the Government must deliver a fair budget for older people, one that recognises the contributions made over decades by more than 600,000 workers, homemakers, carers and businesspeople who are now pensioners.”

Along with its key priorities, Age Action also published detailed submissions it made to a number of individual Government departments, which are available online at www.ageaction.ie/budget2018.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here