Wednesday 29 January 2020

Pensioner's story

• I am appalled by the IMF saying pensioners have not been hit by recent cuts on income. Do they think price increases and other new taxes don't affect us? I am 80 and my wife is not far behind me. The thought of poverty frightens me; I know what it is like. As a child I was brought up by my grandmother in the dock area in the east end of London in the 1930s, going to bed at night, waiting for the morning to get something to eat. It was a lesson well-learnt. I later became a tool maker and machine tool fitter, never unemployed. I saved my money, paid for a private pension and VHI and helped to build this country into the Celtic Tiger. My income is taxed, I have no problem with that. I've paid tax all my working life.

How am I now? Not too bad thanks, there are lots worse than me. We are all in the same boat, the trouble is there is a small hole in its bottom and as the boat is rotten the hole is getting bigger and the water is coming in quicker.

Did I say I am not too bad? I've had two knee joints replaced; a heart bypass; I've had two episodes of cancer and blocked arteries in both legs; so I can only walk 100 yards or so. Sorry, nearly forgot my diabetes. All paid for by my own efforts.

This is not to mention visits to hospitals -- I have one check-up a year for the heart; twice a year into the theatre for a look into my bladder; twice a year for injections to my eye; and once every three years to the theatre for a look into my colon. Again, all paid for by my own efforts.

What about the future? Soon I will have to give up my health insurance and throw myself at the mercy of the HSE.

I am facing the possibility of losing my savings, which are in the bank, to bury myself and my wife and the possibility of no longer being able to run my 13-year-old car. Not too bad?

Now the IMF says elderly benefits are wasteful. Do they forget who generated the billions that others gambled and lost and those who took the money and ran?

Am I bitter? No. I am disappointed that once again the young people have to leave as no one knows how to plug the hole in the boat.

Name and address with editor

Irish Independent

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