By Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner Political Reporter
Sinn Féin has refused to commit on increasing the pension if elected to Government.
Launching their charter for older people Deputy President Mary Lou McDonald said the party will carry out a full assessment of social welfare payments, but stopped short of promising more money for pensioners.
Labour and Fianna Fáil have already promised that they will raise the amount pensioners receive, with the Labour party going as far as promising to increase the state pension by €25 per week over the lifetime of the next Government.
Although their charter for older people has promised to not reduce the pension, Sinn Féin has no plans to increase payments in the short-term.
However, their manifesto will include a reversal of the reductions to the telephone allowance and the fuel allowance.
Mr McDonald said: “The issue with the pension is people in increasing numbers are not entitled to a pension payment, we know dealing with people across the state that people increasing will get partial payment of the pension, so our first priority is to ensure that people are entitled to the full pension as it is.
“Then we want in the course of the next Dáil, the next government we want an assessment of all social welfare payments, including pensions, with an eye to decent standard of living.”
A Sinn Féin spokesman said the party would not rule out a pension increase in the future, but this is not planned at present.
Meanwhile Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea yesterday said: “We have very definitive proposals on increasing pensions”.
He added that these detailed proposals would be published in the coming weeks ahead of the general election.