Water bill relief and the Christmas bonus payment get the thumbs up

Pensioner PJ Gallagher (66) has welcomed the Christmas bonus, which will see €57 extra in his pocket this December.

His verdict on the Budget was that overall it represents an improvement to his life, but more could have been done.

Prior to yesterday's announcements, the Baldoyle pensioner was entitled to a contributory State pension along with a living-alone allowance, which came to a total of €238 a week.

The living alone allowance was increased by €1.30 a week by Michael Noonan, bringing it from €7.70 to €9, which was the first increase in this payment since 1996.

"I will also qualify for the €100 payment in the Budget to help with the cost of water charges," said PJ, who said that he welcomed this measure.


However, the pensioner, who previously worked for Age Action in the information section, did not see an increase in his pension, which remains at around €230.

"It would have been nice to see a €5 or even a €10 increase, but that won't happen now," said PJ.

"I also had hoped there would be movement on the €2.50 prescription charge for medical card holders, in that it would be reduced or abolished.

"Overall, I think it's basically as you were, but with some improvements," he added.

He welcomed the fact that the travel pass was untouched for pensioners, as he said that it was vital that it exists for elderly people.

Pensioners were hit in last year's austerity budget with their telephone allowance axed.