independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Pensions protest at Deenihan's office

MINISTER Jimmy Deenihan's offices in Listowel are coming under increasing siege from disgruntled citizens demonstrating outside over changes to pensions due to come into effect next year.

MINISTER Jimmy Deenihan's offices in Listowel are coming under increasing siege from disgruntled citizens demonstrating outside over changes to pensions due to come into effect next year.

The offices have already become a focal point for protestors over everything from turf-cutting bans to the banking bailout. But the ranks are now being swelled by protestors against the pension changes who kicked off demonstrations there over two weeks ago and have now developed into a weekly Saturday morning picket.

Organiser Eddie Horgan said the group are attracting more and more support as their protest raises awareness of an issue they say is nothing more than a 'money grab' on older people.

Under the changes, anyone retiring at age 65 from their job between next year and 2021 will not get the 'transition' State pension until they reach 66 years of age.

Instead, they will be forced to go on Jobseeker's Allowance at an estimated maximum loss of over €3,600 for families in the year. The transition pension currently pays out €230 per week with Jobseeker's paying a lesser rate of €188 per week.

The protestors - mostly working people approaching retirement age - say they are very disappointed with the lack of support from politicians and unions on the issue.

As the population is now living longer, the retirement age is set to be pushed out even further in the future. The State pension will be paid out from 67 years of age by 2021; and 68 years of age from 2028 onwards.

"The State seems unable, however, to get tough on politicians and senior civil servants who retire much younger than 65 on generous pensions that can be classed as wealth-creating," Mr Horgan said.

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