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Dublin pensioner, 83, says modest payback will go to his grandchilren

Published 11/10/2016

Finance Minister Michael Noonan outside Government buildings in Dublin before he delivered the Budget.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan outside Government buildings in Dublin before he delivered the Budget.

An 83-year-old former lecturer and human resources manager has said the modest payback he is being offered will go straight on his six grandchildren.

Bill Rothwell, from Drimnagh, Dublin, questioned why ministers did not change the means-tested medical card system or cut health and prescription costs further, rather than putting money into a slight pension increase.

The former shipping worker said five euro extra in the state pension, taking it to 238 euro a week, will disappear on basic shopping, household and heating bills.

"It's not going to help anyone at all," he insisted.

One of the giveaways in the budget was an 85% bonus on welfare payments in December, an increase of 10%.

Mr Rothwell added: "But the Christmas bonus is a different thing. That's a kind of Christmas present and it will all go on the grandchildren."

He spent 36 years working in various roles in Dublin's docks, including some time with Paschal Donohoe's father.

He was made redundant in 1986 and moved into third level education and college lecturing.

"They are gradually going back to giving what they took from us," he said.

"But the medical card is one of my bugbears. It's still means tested, and that's on gross income, that's a major one. They did nothing with that.

"Another one is that when both the ministers were speaking and with all the usual jargon and their boasting, they never mentioned the pensioners but on reflection I think that's a good thing, otherwise there's a danger that they ghettoise us.

"It should have been an all-round approach more than concentrating on, say, the sheep, the fishermen, and the farmers, although God help them too.

"But they did make an effort to concentrate on a lot of things - the gardai for example, I'm happy with that, and more clerical staff to help them do their jobs on the streets, that's important."

Justin Moran, of Age Action, hit out at the delay in the five euro increase to the state pension until next March.

"More than 85,000 people over the age of 65 are living in deprivation because of rising costs and cuts to income supports. They need a fair State Pension that will enable older people to live with dignity and independence," he said.

Age Action branded the 20 euro cap on prescriptions a "sick tax".

"We hope it is a step towards its eventual abolition, but we would caution that lone pensioners will not benefit greatly as they are unlikely to be paying above the 20 euro figure," Mr Moran said.

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