Saturday 21 October 2017

Intergeneration divide starts to bite as 'old sow eats her farrow'

Pensioners protest over the systemic inequality in the contributory pension and homemaker scheme at Leinster House Photo: Tom Burke
Pensioners protest over the systemic inequality in the contributory pension and homemaker scheme at Leinster House Photo: Tom Burke
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

An interesting proposal was recently made at the Citizens' Assembly by UCD economist Micheal Collins. In a discussion on the elderly, Dr Collins suggested that people of a senior vintage with assets of over €200,000 should be levied a special tax so as to contribute more towards the public purse, and including presumably their own care.

This is not necessarily something I'd favour myself - we have enough levies and taxes - but it does address a major issue in our society which is the large and growing disparity between an often comfortable older community and an insecure, hard-working (or often not working) younger generation.

This is not a scenario that older people are responsible for - far from it - but it exists. We see it in relation to nursing home fees and debate around home care. Should the elderly, especially with farms and land, not be encouraged to sell more of it to pay for their care, rather than rely on the State or indeed their children, or grandchildren?

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