Wednesday 7 December 2016

"I just have the sh*t that goes with being 77" - pensioner's straight-talking views on Budget

Sasha Brady

Published 12/10/2016 | 10:00

Ellen Redden discussed Budget 2017 on Prime Time
Ellen Redden discussed Budget 2017 on Prime Time

Despite the fact that older people are set to make the biggest gains from Budget 2017, many pensioners still feel left out in the cold.

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As Prime Time discussed the latest Budget on Tuesday night's show, one woman expressed what many elderly people were feeling.

Straight-talking Ellen Redden (77) from Ballymun said she doesn't feel that the government is doing enough to help older people who just want to lead a dignified life.

"If you haven't got dementia, or Alzheimer's, or your bits aren't falling off - you just don't exist," she said.

"There's no reduction on my [prescription] tablets. You know... I just have the sh*t that goes with being 77."

Budget 2017 will introduce a maximum fee that over-70s pay for medicine by €5 a month. This comes on top of a €5 increase in the weekly pension, which will kick in from March.

The charity ALONE has stated that the government needs to "do more to support older people in the community".

Sean Moynihan, CEO of the charity said in a statement: “While we welcome the €5 increase to the pension, we have been campaigning for an indexing of the pension to ensure that its value is safeguarded for older people. This would end the yearly calls for pension increases and give older people fair financial independence.”

While he agreed the €5 reduction in the maximum fee that over-70s pay for medicine is a "step in the right direction", he urged the government to think of long-term services that could improve the life of the elderly, especially with home-care.

He said: "We need to keep planning and looking long term every year, as Ireland’s older population is set to reach 1.4million over the next 30 years. ALONE believes that it is vitally important to restore services and supports in the community as these are of equal value, if not more valuable, to older people than an increase in the state pension.”

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