“Government will have to cut old-age pension” as reported in the Irish Times today makes for a great headline” said Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens However it should be remembered that for the majority of Older People this is their sole income. It is what keeps them alive and in some cases above the poverty line.
Mr O’Brien makes what appear to be very rational arguments on the face of it. However what he ignores is, that far from being better off, Senior Citizens have seen real cuts to their income by the withdrawal of the Additional Payment at Christmas, increased costs arising from carbon tax, loss of dental and optical benefit, the introduction of prescription charges, high fuel charges, reported reductions in transport services and planned cuts in Home Help Services to name but a few.
There was a commitment in the programme for government to a State Pension of €300 by 2012 and at the current rate of €230 we are still a long way off achieving that figure.”
Older People are sharing the burden in this economic downturn as they have done through previous downturns. There are still over 17% of Older People who are at risk of poverty and the State Pension as a percentage of average earnings is one of the lowest in the EU.