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Minister blames tax office for OAP fiasco

THE Minister for The Elderly has broken her silence on the pensions scandal -- vowing to ensure the "undue distress" on OAPs "never happens again".

Kathleen Lynch today admitted that "serious mistakes" were made by the Revenue Commissioners.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Ms Lynch slammed Revenue bosses for their "lack of research and efficiency" but stopped short of admitting that the pensions' debacle had spiralled into a national scandal.

"This should have been dealt with, let's be honest about that. The Commissioner should have done further research and not put people through the type of distress that they are currently going through," she said.

"Elderly people can become quite distressed about owing anything, an ESB bill, household charges anything at all and I think if you can relieve that stress in any way that would be a relief.

"I think that the Revenue Commissioners could have handled this an awful lot differently. There was no need to cause this."

Her comments come as it emerged today that 15,000 distressed pensioners will unexpectedly have their savings raided by the taxman -- only to have the money refunded months later.

Revenue bosses have admitted that they will force thousands of vulnerable retirees to hand over income tax that they don't even owe.