A new campaign will be launched today calling for the Government to honour its commitment to introduce a State pension rate of 34% of average earnings.
The ‘Pension Promise Campaign’ involves SIPTU, the National Women’s Council, Age Action, Active Retirement Ireland and members of the Senior Citizens Parliament.
The groups say a State pension rate of 34% of average earnings would mean an increase of €53 a week in the payment.
They are calling on the Government to take action to address the high number of people experiencing pension poverty in Ireland.
“Tens of thousands of older people are unable to keep on top of household bills or afford the basics,” SIPTU Deputy General Secretary Ethel Buckley said.
“This is not acceptable in a country as wealthy as Ireland and SIPTU will not stand for this injustice,” she added.
National Women’s Council Director Orla O’Connor said the State pension system is critical for women, who are more reliant on it than men.
“Women are subjected to deep inequalities and discrimination in our pension system, as they are more likely to provide unpaid care and to be in low paid, part time and precarious jobs, and many do not have an occupational pension or access to the full state pension,” Ms O’Connor said.
Senior Public Affairs and Policy Specialist with Age Action Nat O’Connor said that older people are finding it harder to make ends meet.
“While most older persons will be frugal about their spending and will turn to their own resources before seeking state help, many are telling us that they can no longer afford the essentials,” Mr O’Connor said.
CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament Sue Shaw said some older people fear others realising how much they are struggling as somewhere along the way they have picked up the message that “poverty” is their own fault and something they need to feel ashamed of.
“An adequate secure pension would go a long way to addressing some of this,” Ms Shaw said.
CEO of Active Retirement Ireland Maureen Kavanagh said it is time for the Government to honour its commitment on the State pension.