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The prospect of cuts has caused concern among support groups for the elderly and lone parent families

The prospect of cuts has caused concern among support groups for the elderly and lone parent families

The prospect of cuts has caused concern among support groups for the elderly and lone parent families

The Government has been warned not to abandon the country's most vulnerable people when making cuts in the upcoming Budget.

Support groups for the elderly and lone parent families demanded those who depend on the state are protected in any political decisions to address Ireland's economic crisis.

Age Action warned two-thirds of pensioners are dependent on the state pension as their main source of income.

Eamon Timmons, spokesman, told Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv at a pre-budget forum in Dublin the cost of key services for pensioners, such as bottled gas, solid fuel, hospital services and health insurance, had soared.

"It should be a matter of national shame that we have up to 2,000 excess winter deaths each year in Ireland," said Mr Timmins. "Older people who die from cold-related illnesses because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

"It will be even more difficult for older people this year because of the carbon tax and the electricity levy."

One Family, which supports one parent families, revealed almost a sixth of one parent families are living in consistent poverty - four times the national average of 4.2%.

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Policy manager Candy Murphy said: "More and more lone parents are contacting us because they are having difficulties in making ends meet for their families.

"The Government has stated its desire to reduce poverty rates for lone parents and their children and to remove barriers to employment for this vulnerable group.

"We are today calling on the Government to start to make this a reality in 2011 by making modest increases in supports for children in low income families."


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