Irish government tax the dead and the elderly in latest austerity budget

Ireland's Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Details of Ireland's 2014 budget are being released.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is to hit the dead and the elderly in Ireland’s latest austerity budget on Tuesday – with a backlash expected from the golden oldies.

Government sources have confirmed to the Irish Sun newspaper that Minister Noonan is to axe a $1000 death grant designed to help families cope with funeral expenses on the death of a loved one.

Pensioners are also to be hit hard in the Budget despite claims by Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny that ‘better days’ are here as the country expects to exit the EU/IMF bail-out in December.

The elderly will be hit with painful cuts to medical cards, household benefit packages as well as the death grants according to the report.

It says that one in 10 pensioners over 70 will lose their full medical card and get a doctor-only card in return.

A pensioners' telephone allowance, worth $150 a year is also to be cut.

Groups representing the elderly have already warned of a backlash against the budget cuts.

Free medical cover for the over-70s will be reduced by tightening the income qualification thresholds.

Some 350,000 over-70s have a full medical card entitling them to free health care but 35,000 of these will be downgraded to a doctor-only card in a move designed to save over $35million.

Noonan will counter the negative publicity by offering free medical cover to all children under five years of age.

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