Taoiseach again refuses to restore State Pension for 65 year olds - Mary Lou McDonald TD
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has strongly criticised Taoiseach Michéal Martin for again refusing to restore the State Pension for 65 year olds who wish to retire.
Raising the matter with the Taoiseach at Leaders Questions today, Ms McDonald described the announcement from Minister Heather Humphreys on Monday as "little more than a repackaged job seekers payment for 65 year olds" and she slammed the government for demonstrating a lack of fairness and respect.
The Sinn Féin Leader said:
"Ahead of last year's general election, Fianna Fáil promised to restore the pension transition payment to ensure that no sixty five year old would lose out.
"However, that promise has been left in tatters as the Taoiseach is standing over a policy that sees 65 year olds receive a payment of only €203 per week.
"This amounts to a loss of €45 per week, and more than €2000 in the course of year when compared with the state pension payment.
"It will also see many 65 year olds losing out on secondary benefits such as fuel allowance and the Free Travel Pass. This is the exact Fine Gael policy the Taoiseach opposed last February.
"This policy means that a lot of 65 year olds who wish to retire cannot afford to stop working. The lack of fairness and respect is staggering especially during a pandemic when people are really struggling.
"Micheál Martin doesn't get it. When people reach the age of sixty five, they have worked their shifts and paid their dues. They are entitled to a fair state pension and a well-earned break. The Taoiseach has again refused to restore the state pension for 65 year olds, so it is clear that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael see things very differently.
"This is a straightforward matter. You are either for a state pension at 65 or you are not. Clearly, Michéál Martin is not. He is happy to stand over 65 year olds losing out on €45 a week.
"Sinn Féin in government would restore the state pension at the age of 65. No ifs, buts, or maybes. That is the right and fair thing to do."