Ireland spends less than half the EU average on elderly
Ireland spends less than half the European Union (EU) average on caring for some of its most vulnerable citizens, new figures have revealed.
Data released yesterday by the EU's statistical office Eurostat shows that the Government spent just 10pc of its social protection outlay on the elderly in 2013 - almost 12pc less than the eurozone standard.
It places Ireland second last in the EU when it comes to spending in areas related to "old age" which includes pensions and bereavement supports.
Only Iceland finished lower with 5.6pc.
Responding to the report, head of advocacy with Age Action, Justin Moran, said the figures offered little in the way of a surprise and the Government must ensure older people can live with dignity.
"The State pension has not been increased since 2009...and since then many older people have seen their weekly incomes cut by almost €14, so these figures are not surprising.
"While it is true that Ireland has a comparatively young population compared to other European countries, the number of people over the age of 65 in this country is going to increase rapidly in the coming years," he added.
"The Government must take this growth in our older population seriously and start planning and investing now to ensure older people can live with dignity and independence, free from poverty."
Italy topped the list spending some 27.6pc of its total social protection expenditure in helping to care for its pensioners.
Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Austria and Romania all dedicated over 25pc of their spend on the elderly. Spending on social protection accounted for 40.2pc of total government expenditure by function in the EU as a whole with "old age spending" making up 21.4pc of the spend.
Ireland landed close to the European average with our total social protection spend accounting for 38.6pc of total expenditure.
Ireland topped the list of countries when it came to spending on unemployment in 2013 which accounted for some 7.6pc of the spend.
Healthcare was the second largest outlay Europe-wide with governments spending an average of 14.8pc of their total expenditure on the sector. Ireland spends 17.4pc in this area.
In 2014, total general government expenditure amounted to €6,701bn in the EU.
This represented almost half of EU GDP in 2014, in line with figures from the previous year.
In the eurozone, the share stood at 49pc in 2014 showing little movement on 2013's figures.