Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton has attacked President Michael D Higgins’s call for an end to austerity – as he enjoys a near $200,000 state pension.

Fine Gael stalwart Bruton urged the Irish public to ‘tighten their belts’ just days after President Higgins called on the government to relieve the financial burden on people.

Bruton, employed a lobbyist by the IFSC financial centre in Dublin,  claimed Irish people must ‘get used to living with less’.

He also dismissed that the President’s recent comments and claimed borrowing more now to stimulate growth was ‘immoral and anti-social’.

Bruton told the Irish Independent: “Ireland has to change its economic model. Change, which people are calling as a term of abuse ‘austerity’, is always painful.”

He added: “I am not in agreement with President Higgins because it is not realistic nor moral to say that we’re not going to face difficult issues now, but instead we’re going to avoid them by borrowing money that our children or children’s’ children will have to pay.

“That is not moral, socially just or socialist. In fact it’s immoral. It’s anti-social for us to avoid our responsibilities and pass them on to the next generation. Yet that’s the cry of the opponents of austerity.

“We need to get used to doing more with less. Since 1990, the amount of arable land available per human being has halved, and that will not change.”