Issue 15 - March 2011

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Strategy for older people, carers, pensions

The Minister for Health & Children, James Reilly, told Michael Kitt (FF, Galway E) that policy for older people was a priority for the new government and the Programme for Government gave a commitment to complete the National Positive Aging Strategy (Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th March 2011, 782).  Work on the strategy was continuing in his department, assisted by a cross-departmental group drawn from eleven government departments, the Central Statistics Office and the Garda Siochana.  As part of this, a group comprising representatives of twelve national non-governmental organizations with an interest in older people’s issues had been established with an independent chair and was facilitating the exchange of information and views.

Asked by Dessie Ellis (SF, Dublin NW) and Brendan Smith (FF, Cavan Monaghan) about the strategy for carers abandoned by the previous government, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton told them that the government was committed in the Programme for Government to develop a carers’ strategy and it would consider how to progress the strategy in the light of the prevailing economic realities (Dail Eireann, Debates, 30th March 2011, 928).

Meantime, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, confirmed to Brian Stanley (SF, Laois Offaly) that the state pension age would be standardized at 66 in 2014, increased to 67 years in 2021 and 68 in 2028 (Dail Eireann, Debates, 30th March 2011, 932).  This would be confirmed by legislation, decided under the International Monetary Fund agreement, by mid-2011. An implementation group chaired by her department was developing the legislative, administrative and regulatory infrastructure to put the reforms into operation.  She set these changes in the context of people living longer, rising life expectancy (89 years for women and 83 for men) and the need to sustain the pension system.