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‘I’m 73 years old and I’m looking for a job – the pension rise is not enough’

Josephine Bow owns her own home – but faces escalating costs, from energy bills to food


Pensioner Josephine Bow pictured in the garden of her home in Clonalvy, Co Meath. Photo: Frank McGrath

Pensioner Josephine Bow pictured in the garden of her home in Clonalvy, Co Meath. Photo: Frank McGrath

Pensioner Josephine Bow pictured in the garden of her home in Clonalvy, Co Meath. Photo: Frank McGrath

Pensioner Josephine Bow said a €5 increase to the state pension isn’t going to be enough and she’s looking for a job to afford the cost of living.

Ms Bow (73) lives on the Dublin-Meath border and owns her own home. However, she says there’s a failure to recognise that just because a pensioner may have their own property, that doesn’t mean they have means.

Josephine, who has osteoporosis of the spine, has accepted she is on her own and doesn’t believe the Government will increase the pension enough, if it does at all.

So she is actively seeking a job. However, she believes she is coming up against ageism and that people don’t want to hire an older person.

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“I don’t want to be insulted with a fiver increase in the pension,” Ms Bow said ahead of Budget 2022.

“I’m looking for a job, as I need more money coming in. I feel able enough to do something.

“And if I get a job, maybe I can then pay someone to cut the grass. It’s very hard work, it's a big garden.

“I’ve put myself out there a little bit, tentatively, but I haven't had any success.

“People are very nice on the phone – then they don’t get back to you.”

She said: “I felt older people’s groups should have been lobbying for 10pc in the pension.

“Everything has gone up in price, from energy bills to food. And pensioners haven’t seen an increase in the budget for two years.

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“When you’re living on your own, as I am, you only have the pension to depend on.

“Some other pensioners have other money coming in but we shouldn’t all be put in the same box.

“I have expenses, like a car, which I need to get around. However, I sent my car for a service recently and the mechanic discovered something wrong.

“I paid €792 for repairs and I wasn’t expecting that. I need to pay someone to repair windows.

"And as I get older and weaker, I know I’ll not be able to do all the jobs I need. I’ll have to pay someone to do them.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about that but I do. I think how will I manage when things need fixing, where will the money come from?”

A grandmother of two, Ms Bow said life today is unrecognisable to 30 years ago.

“There are so many more expenses, including broadband and your phone and they’re costly on a weekly basis,” she said.

“I don’t have Netflix or a smart TV. I haven’t had my hair cut for 20 months. I don’t get beauty treatments, or take holidays.

“But are pensioners meant to live unlike everyone else? Are we sidelined completely and left there to sit at home, without a car, without a life?

“You should be able to afford classes to keep fit but they are expensive. If pensioners could afford exercise classes, it would save a lot of lives and keep people from hospital.

“It would give them a better lifestyle but it's very expensive. The classes are over €15. I’m learning the piano once a fortnight and it’s €15. It’s a pleasure but I should be able to do more.

“When I was working, I worked in offices and on computers. I use a Mac at home. And I help my neighbour with information online.

“We will have an extra €28 on the fuel allowance in October but it’s really depressing because the bills have inflated so much. It won’t be enough.”

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