Wednesday 20 September 2017

It was Fianna Fail who made real progress on pensioner poverty

Leo Varadkar's pension and welfare proposals are political smoke and mirrors, argues Willie O'Dea

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea. Photo: Tom Burke

Willie O'Dea

Around this time last year Minister Paschal Donohoe became very upset at me when I called for a €5 increase in the old-age pension. He was furious. He claimed that I wanted to "…create the kind of politics that has created the cost and difficulty that we want to put behind us as a country and we are not going to go down that path".

Everybody bar Donohue could see the foolishness of claiming that a decent pension increase could send us hurtling back to the economic crash. Well, not quite everybody - Leo Varadkar was equally as blind to this truth.

Back then, Donohoe was a humble minister for public expenditure and Varadkar was somewhat less humble minister for social protection. Though they were not making the key decisions, they were cheerleading them, although this wasn't a full-time role for Varadkar, who was more pre-occupied with plotting his leadership bid.

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