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The pension is definitely going up and Micheál Martin has dismissed claims he's opposed to rises

“We are working towards increasing the pension in the next budget,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.

File photo
File photo
Image: thodonal88 via Shutterstock

Updated 12.50pm

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that the government intends to increase the pension in this year’s Budget.

Speaking to reporters at a press briefing, Varadkar said that the Programme for Government states “very clearly it is our intention to increase the pension and increase it ahead of the rate of inflation and to it so every year”.

That is absolutely our intention and our plan, and we are working towards increasing the pension in the next budget.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, meanwhile, has gone on the defensive after an article in the Sunday Independent quoted him as saying he believed that payments for carers and those receiving disability payments should be prioritised in the upcoming Budget.

Commitments

Varadkar said that he was unable to give any specific commitment on any specific issue, such as tax, pensions, welfare or spending.

The government has not yet engaged in any Budget negotiations, according to Varadkar.

“We just aren’t at that point yet,” he said.

As of 10 March, the current State Pension Contributory rates in Ireland are as follows:

Capture Source: www.welfare.ie

The government changed the eligibility criteria for a full pension back in 2012, which is currently paid at a rate of €233.30 per week to those aged 66 to 80.

Under the previous system, those who had an average of 20 PRSI contributions a year were entitled to a payment of €228.70. This dropped to €198.60 in 2012, a drop of over €30 a week.

A pension increase of €5 a week was brought into effect in March, totalling a €260 increase a year to the pension.

At the time, Varadkar said in a statement:

“For many of these groups, it represents the first increase since 2009. I appreciate that the increase is modest but it is a permanent increase and certainly a step in the right direction.”

Anyone over the age of 66 in receipt of a pension, including older carers and widows, received the increase.

Fine Gael said the March increase would directly affect 600,000 people across the country.

Fianna Fáil

A report in today’s Sunday Independent on the subject, meanwhile, drew an indignant response from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

The paper quotes the Cork TD as saying that he favoured increasing payments for other State supports this year. The article says that this stance would be at odds with other party members.

In a statement, Martin said that the report was “ludicrous and inaccurate”.

“In fact, it’s not even been discussed at this stage,” he said. “Today’s report… fails to reflect the reality of the situation.”

In a statement to RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show, the Sunday Independent retorted that Martin’s statement is both “ridiculous and inaccurate”. It says the story was based on Martin’s own comments.

With reporting from Sean Murray

Read: Good news for pensioners: The State pension is going up by €5 a week from today

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