ALONE – Budget 2016 -Vulnerable older people down €700 per annum since 2009

ALONE, the charity that advocates for older people in need, have examined the fine print of Budget 2016 and found it lacking in substance for vulnerable older people.


Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE has today reviewed Budget 2016’s focus in terms of health, housing and ageing at home in the community saying, “What problems is this budget trying to solve? If the government wanted to target and effectively aid older people in need, as opposed to please everyone – they would have acted very differently. Whilst ALONE welcome increases to the pension, and the Christmas bonus, they do very little to alleviate the very difficult situations that some of Ireland’s most vulnerable older people find themselves in.”


Moynihan continued, ‘’160,000 people have turned 65 since the recessionary 2009 budget.  Yet since then the telephone allowance has been abolished, the fuel allowance season cut by six weeks and the household benefits package reduced to a single rate.  In addition to these cuts, many older people are being crippled by the prescription charge, a direct tax on our sick, which the Government has made no move to eradicate. A person living on the state pension is now down €700 since 2008 in allowance and benefits this is without taking the rising costs of living and increases in charges and taxes into account.”


Addressing housing and homelessness issues for older people, Moynihan said, “Our work centres on aiding people to age at home with the right supports.  This budget has nothing outlined in terms of housing for older people and rent supports, which is concerning as 50% of all calls to ALONE are about housing and older people are the group most at risk from raised rents.  2.34 million home help hours have been lost since 2008 and there is no provision in the budget to address this loss, home help is key to supporting older people to live at home.”


Addressing the Fair Deal Scheme Moynihan said, “According to the HSE there has been a 44% increase in the number of older people in nursing homes categorised as ‘low dependency’ by the HSE. We will be watching closely to see of the health service plan increases investment in home and community supports in Budget 2016 to help keep these people at home for longer”.
Moynihan concluded, “It is unacceptable that the government has failed to consider the basic needs of our older neighbours, family and friends. Since 2009 older people have found it difficult to cover the cumulative fuel increases with their fuel allowance, struggled to pay their telephone bill as  Irish telephone costs are the sixth most expensive in Europe and have been forced to pay rising food prices on a pension that today offers just €3 extra. At ALONE we believe every older person has the right to age safely, healthily and happily in their communities and this budget does not ensure these basic rights”.


ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 for those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community or visit




Further detail on cuts that have affected vulnerable older people since 2009:

  • Telephone allowance was cut a loss of €256.92 per annum
  • The fuel allowance season was cut by 6 weeks to 26 weeks, a loss of €120 per annum
  • The household benefits package was reduced to a single rate resulting in a loss of €105.60 per annum
  • The bereavement grant was cut
  • The drugs repayment scheme threshold was increased
  • The prescription charge was increased fivefold to €2.50 per item


Established in 1977, ALONE is an independent charity that supports vulnerable older people to age at home.  We work with those who have issues with social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  We provide Supportive Coordination, Befriending, Supportive Housing and Campaigning services to hundreds of older people every week.  We receive no Government funding for our day-to-day activities so we rely solely on the generosity of the public to continue our work.  ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

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