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Centenarian Bounty under threat after Budget 2013

The practice of Ireland giving a generous gift to its citizens when they turn 100 may be discontinued.

Image: Sara Robinson via Shutterstock

THE CASH GIFT paid to Irish citizens when they turn 100 years of age is under threat, Budget documents yesterday revealed.

The €2,540 payment from the President to people living in Ireland, as well as Irish people living abroad, has long been a tradition of Áras an Uachtaráin.

However, the scheme now costs an estimated €1 million annually and the government is looking for savings. Budget documents also revealed that demographic factors could make the practice even more expensive in years to come.

A review is to be conducted to assess the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the Centenarian Bounty. It will examine other international models of providing appropriate recognition by the State to its long-living citizens.

The money is gifted along with a congratulatory letter from the President. It is ordinarily presented to the recipient by a personal friend on the President’s behalf.

Earlier this year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he expected 388 people to receive the bounty – less than 0.01 per cent of the estimated population of 4,581,269.

In 2011, 368 people received the present on their 100th birthdays. That was the highest number since the scheme was extended to Irish centenarians living outside the State. Eighty-five per cent of the recipients were women, a figure that does not vary greatly from year to year.

Former recipients of the bounty also receive a specially minted coin for every birthday after their 100th, with a new coin commissioned every year.

Read: Here’s how many people the government thinks will turn 100 this year

IN PICTURES: the winners and losers of Budget 2013

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