Latest: Too early to say if pension will be increased in Budget, says Varadkar

Update 1.15pm: The Taoiseach says it is too early to say whether he will have the money to increase the State pension in the next Budget.

Leo Varadkar says Budget Day - which is October 10 - is still too far away to have decisions nailed down.

The news comes despite clear government commitments that the state pension will continue to rise, at least in line with inflation.

Leo Varadkar says it is still the goal - but he does not know if money is there.

"The programme for Government states very clearly that it's our intention to increase the pension and to increase it ahead of the rate of inflation and to do so every year," he said.

"That's absolutely our intention and our plan and we're working towards increasing the pension in the next Budget but I can't yet make any specific commitments in relation to the Budget because it just hasn't been agreed yet."

Earlier: Micheál Martin has described a story in this morning's Sunday Independent as both ridiculous and without foundation.

The article in question reports a "war of words" between the Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over increases to the old age pension.

Deputy Martin says neither party has entered discussions on the specifics of the next budget and called the article "ludicrous and inaccurate".

"The report, which claims there is a war of words between myself and the Taoiseach over increases to the old age pension, is ludicrous and inaccurate. In fact, the issue has not even been discussed at this stage," he said.

"The Confidence & Supply Arrangement provides for an increase in the old age pension over the next number of years, and last year we were successful in securing a €5 increase as part of that agreement.

"Neither party has entered into discussions on the specifics of the next budget – but as was made clear in the article, Fianna Fáil wants to see pensioners looked after in Budget 2018. However, no specifics have been discussed at this stage.

"Today’s report is disingenuous and fails to reflect the reality of the situation."

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