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Ireland spends less of its social protection budget on old age benefit than anywhere in EU

The state has one of the highest spends on healthcare, however.

Pensioners protest in Dublin over changes to medical card eligibility.
Pensioners protest in Dublin over changes to medical card eligibility.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND SPENDS THE lowest percentage in the EU of its social protection budget on old age and survivors benefit.

Almost half of Ireland’s social protection budget is spent on sickness, healthcare and disability however, one of the highest figures in the common market.

All the figures are contained in the report from the EU’s statistical office Eurostat are from 2011.

The state spends 23.4 per cent of its social protection budget on old age and bereavement benefits compared to an EU-wide average of 45.7 per cent. No other EU member has a percentage figure in the 20s, the next lowest being Luxembourg at 37.4 per cent.

Healthcare costs are where Ireland’s social protection spend is concentrated with 49.5 per cent of all social expenditure spend in that area. Only Croatia spends more at 51.1 per cent.

Family and children account for 12 per cent of the spend on social protection, unemployment is 11.5 per cent and housing and social exclusion make up 3.6 per cent

As percentage of GDP

Ireland is roughly at the EU average in social protection spending as a percentage of GDP but it has risen the past number of years as the EU average has decreased.

The spend on social protection in the state in relation to GDP was 29.6 per cent in 2011, just above the EU average of 29.1 per cent.

The percentage spend in Ireland has steadily increased since 2008 when the figure was 21.5 per cent. This increase is a function of both increased reliance on social protection and declining GDP over that period.

Read: New legislation to protect pensioners with defined benefit schemes >

Read: Questions raised over lack of records for Emergency Needs Payments >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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