Regina Doherty, the new Social Protection Minister, has indicated that she will go to battle for old age pensioners and look for an increase in their weekly payments as one of her first jobs in the role.
She is keen to pay back those who have invested in the State throughout their lives, and the fact that they are not able to get a part-time job means that they have to survive solely off what they get in their weekly pension. Last year Fianna Fáil sought for the pension to be increased by €5 per week, something that was passed in the budget, though it only came into effect in March.
Fianna Fáil spokesman Willie O'Dea is again going to push for another increase when budget negotiations begin later this year, a notion that was backed up by Ms Doherty in her comments to today's Sunday Independent.
"The most important job is to make sure I look after the vulnerable people of Ireland who have nobody to look after them except me or the department," she said.
"I need more money and the department needs more money in order to invest in those vulnerable people. I definitely need to look after the people who have invested in this State and who have fixed-rate incomes and they are our old age pensioners," she added.
"There are very vulnerable sections of our community. There are people who are on illness and disability pensions as well as those on non-contributory old age pensioner and contributory old age pensioners. They do need to be minded because they have no other income.
"Other people in that bracket who receive maternity benefit or children's allowance or any other social welfare have the opportunity to increase their weekly income. The people I'm talking about have no opportunity. If you are on an illness benefit pension you are never going to work one day a week
"If you're on disability, you are not going to work. They are the vulnerable people who have no recourse to work to increase their income," she said.
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