Fianna Fáil candidate for Wicklow Cllr. Jennifer Cuffe has welcomed the commitment from Fianna Fáil that the party will raise the State Pension, both the Contributory & Non-Contributory, by €30 over the lifetime of the Government.
Cllr. Cuffe commented, “Older people deserve an adequate income in retirement so that they can have a decent standard of living. Fianna Fáil will deliver for older people and will increase the State Pension by €30. Furthermore, we will raise the Living Alone Allowance to €15. We will also abolish the waste that is Irish Water, scrap water charges and abolish prescription charges. Having worked for many years with SVP, meals-on-wheels and the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament in the community, I have seen first-hand the difficulties being faced by our older citizens.
“Despite their claims to have protected pensioners, Fine Gael and Labour have actually targeted them over the last number of years, with a raft of harsh and regressive cuts and measures that have directly affected the incomes of older people. Older people have seen a fivefold increase in prescription fees, changes to the eligibility criteria for medical cards, the axing of the telephone allowance, reductions in the vital Household Benefits Package, the abolition of the Bereavement Grant and the introduction of water charges. On top of this, this Government introduced the pension fund levy which amounted to nothing more than a raid on private pensions.
“In spite of all the spin stating that older people have been protected, under Fine Gael and Labour the rate of deprivation for those aged 65 and over has increased from 9.5% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2014. This Government gave a mere €3 increase in pensions whilst cutting taxes for higher income earners – a grave insult to the dignity of our older citizens. Fianna Fáil has always looked after older people and we have a range of further proposals, including tougher sentencing for those found guilty of assaulting older people and protecting and enhancing the Free Travel Scheme.
“In Government Fianna Fáil will prioritise fairness, and end the Fine Gael and Labour agenda of targeting those who have the least. Having worked with older and vulnerable people in the community, I will continue to champion the rights of pensioners to thrive and not just survive in retirement. Fianna Fáil will create a fairer society and we will ensure that under our watch, older people are given the resources that they need to live full and independent lives,” pledged Cllr. Cuffe.