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Boost for pensioners as Government looks to woo the 'grey' vote

Published 13/10/2015

Enda Kenny's administration has revealed its last Budget before the election
Enda Kenny's administration has revealed its last Budget before the election

The "grey vote" was also front and centre of the coalition's attempts to be returned to power when the next election is called.

A three euro boost to the weekly old age pension was a small help and the first time it has been increased since the economic collapse and recession gripped the country.

Other benefits included the fuel allowance increasing by 2.50 euro to 22.50 euro a week and a 75% Christmas bonus for those on long term welfare payments.

Despite the good news Age Action said other avenues could have been explored by the Government such as improving supports to let people stay in their homes, cuts prescription charges or telephone allowances.

Justin Moran, head of advocacy, said it will make a real difference to pensioners who saw their old age pension and household benefits cut by 13 euro a week since 2009.

"Almost a hundred thousand older people are living in deprivation," he said.

"All of that cannot be fixed at once and what we have seen in Budget 2016 is a substantial step in the right direction.

Alone, the charity that cares for older people in need, warned that Ireland remains an expensive place to grow old with food almost 16% dearer than the EU average and unacceptably high levels of fuel poverty.

Sean Moynihan, chief executive, said: " We are acutely aware however that these small increases do not yet restore the Christmas Bonus, or the Fuel Allowance, to 2009 levels."

"We need to keep planning and looking long term as every year we have 20,000 additional people turning 65, totalling 160,000 since the economic collapse.

"Alone believes that not all older people are the same and we must target resources to those most in need of help to live in safety and security as part of the community."

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