Active Retirement Ireland, the country’s largest membership organisation for older people, says today’s Budget 2024 announcement is a missed opportunity that again denies basic pension adequacy and income security for older people in Ireland.
While the charity says it welcomes any increase to income supports for older people who are increasingly at risk of falling into poverty, the additional €12 a week on the state pension is barely enough to maintain the already dismal buying power of the pension in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, and the one-off additional payments for those on the Fuel Allowance and Living Alone Allowance do not go far enough to help the most at-risk.
Active Retirement Ireland CEO Maureen Kavanagh said: “Budget 2024 has failed older people and ignored their pleas for a liveable, benchmarked income that allows them to enjoy dignity and quality of life after they have worked and contributed all their lives to the economy Ireland enjoys today.
“What we have seen today is more of the same, a bit here and a bit there, and it is a missed opportunity to provide income security in retirement for all Irish people.
“The €12 a week increase will help of course, and we welcome this, but the state pension is not keeping pace with inflation and all this €12 is really doing is stopping the value of the pension from slipping even lower in terms of buying power.
“By not benchmarking the state pension at 34% of average earnings, older people living on the state pension are worse off in Budget 2024 and have been denied a secure, sustainable income.
“Additional lump sum payments to the Fuel Allowance and Living Alone Allowance are a short-term solution and do not provide income security. Again, these payments are welcomed and do help a lot of older people to stay afloat, but that just speaks to the inadequacy of the state pension.
“Active Retirement Ireland and our partners in the Pension Promise Campaign have repeatedly called for an adequate, benchmarked state pension that is indexed to wage growth in Ireland so that older people stop having their quality of life be a political football year in, year out.
“What we are advocating for is not unheard of. Ireland is the only country within the Eurozone with a state pension that is not indexed against wages or earnings. The government themselves committed in 2018 to benchmarking the state pension at 34% of average earnings and yet, six years on, they have again chosen not to. So the question is, if not now when? And if never, then the government needs to explain why.”