The Irish government has been warned not to go to war with elderly after plans to cut the old age pension were revealed in weekend media reports.
The Irish Independent reports that coalition partners Fine Gael and Labor are already at loggerheads over the proposed cut.
And several groups representing the elderly have advised the government not to take on the blue rinse brigade in October’s budget.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was forced to deny the proposed $15 a week cut.
His spokesman said: “The Programme for Government gives a clear commitment there will be no reduction in the old-age pension. The matter isn’t even on the table.
“It is not being contemplated by the Government and isn’t going to be and won’t be,” a spokesman for the Labour Party in Government said.
But Labor Party minister Joan Burton is actively considering the reduction while the Department of Social Protection failed to rule it out.
A spokesman for the Department said: “No decisions have been made. The Government is considering all options. The announcements will be made on Budget day.”
Age Action group head of advocacy Eamon Timmins told the Irish Independent that the speculation is already causing huge anxiety for old people already suffering in the recession.
Timmins also warned of the consequences for the government if it cuts pensions.
He stated: “Older people are really struggling on the back of the cumulative effects of austerity
Budgets since 2008 and the range of cuts, taxes and charges. In political terms, there would be huge opposition.”
And Fianna Fail social welfare spokesman Willie O’Dea warned the government against the move.
O’Dea said: “If Joan Burton is ready to acquiesce with another attack on the most vulnerable, she’d better be prepared for war.
“This is scare-mongering because Joan Burton wants to maintain her status as the leader of the Labour left, which is as mythical as the Loch Ness monster.”
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