Dan Boyle: Age Old Story


From top: Minister for Transport and Sport Shane Ross, who has called for a ‘granny grant’: Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler and Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Affairs, Willie O’Dea have called for an incrrease in the state pension; Dan Boyle

The battle lines are being drawn for Budget 2019. The grey vote is where the Fine Gael led government is being directed.

Fianna Fáil is insisting on another €5 increase in the State pension. The Independent Alliance (The Shane Ross party) has come up with a wheeze that grandparents should be given a grant for looking after their grandchildren.

Both are cynical attempts to buy support from the part of the electorate most likely to vote.

Many pensioners in Ireland, particularly those reliant on the State pension struggle with income adequacy. Women prohibited from the workforce because of the marriage bar in place until 1973, are especially affected.

If political parties were more interested in ending inequalities in our pension system, their concern for the grey vote would be taken more seriously.

Since the economic collapse in 2008, those Over 65 years of age have been the one sector of Irish society whose standards of living have been maintained and in many cases improved.

Pensions were the one area of social protection expenditure that were not reduced. In the period of deflation that followed that resulted in a real value increase. In the subsequent era of low inflation increases have been above the rate of inflation.

Of course this is all relative.

The State contributory pension in Ireland in nominal terms is high when compared to pensions paid in other EU countries. However, we know the cost of living in Ireland is also relatively higher. Comparisons in terms of disposable incomes put Ireland into the middle category of EU countries.

Nevertheless, again strictly in nominal terms, the State contributory pension in Ireland is the equivalent of the average income in Portugal, a country where such a sum has greater purchasing power.

I’m not arguing for any reduction in these rates. We should take great pride in how we aspire to give social protection to the older members of our society. When added to benefits in kind of great innovation, such as the free travel scheme, we do provide that protection better than most countries in Europe.

Where additional resources should go is to making housing for older people more secure, more energy efficient. We should be increasing resources for care in the community, hopefully then making savings in the cost of hospital care.

We should strengthen the State pension. Current policy is a peculiar combination of obsessing on rates, while raising further reliance onto private, occupational pensions. The tax foregone with this policy is equivalent to direct payment of the State pension itself.

We also have tax credit given to people for being older. Lessening or phasing out these measures would create additional resources to help to meet the future needs of our older population in a more holistic way.

As a country Ireland has some demographic advantages. We have population that is younger in age, with a steady replacement birth rate.

A more open immigration would also be an advantage in meeting future pension needs. We should be making these advantages count, rather than engage with cynical policy wheezes.

You might remember a voice from a lost Ireland, Frankie Byrne, whose agony aunt radio programme ‘Dear Frankie’, weekly contained this tag line:

“The problems you are hearing today may not be yours, but they may be some day.”

Sage advice then, even wiser now.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


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73 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Age Old Story

  1. Culchie

    Dan Boyle you need to explain yourself;

    When you write [as you did last week] that those who disagree with your fake non-science cult of Climate Change should not be tolerated, what do you intend?

    Are you intending that we be jailed or shot?

    Do you intend us harm or violence?

    1. Culchie

      So your political philosophy is based on ignorance of the truth.


      Tell us, have you ever debated this Climate Change scam you promote at every opportunity with someone in scientific terms? Or do you consider it beyond your capabilities?

      1. Ronan

        Dan’s facts are based on a huge amount of peer reviewed scientific evidence.

        He’s probably willing to engage if you argue citing your own sources. Asking him to comment on a blog you like is not engaging in debate, it’s you shouting at the internet and (rightly) being mostly ignored.

        He doesn’t owe you a debate/

  2. Dan Boyle

    I’ll happily debate Climate Change with anyone who accepts the science of its reality, which you don’t seem to do. If you want to comment on this article, please do.

    1. Culchie

      What you mean is you’ll happily debate Climate Change with someone who agrees with you and won’t ask you hard questions. That’s you trying to set the parameters of the debate before the debate even starts.

      History and archeology tells us that climate does indeed change but there is no proof (NONE) that any of it is related to human activities that produce CO2. (Which currently is only 3% of all CO2 in the atmosphere)

      Science also tells us that CO2 is essential for life on earth. Horticulturalists add CO2 to greenhouses to increases crop production.

      And you still want to tax CO2? Why? There is no causality between CO2 and temperature.

      Here’s some science to demonstrate.


      Yet you say you will ignore this real world data in favour of your dogma.

      Is this how all your policy decisions are made – including your policies on ‘Older People’ ?

      Are they all based on ‘feelz’ not facts?

      Or do you just read and regurgitate memos handed to you from on high?

          1. Culchie

            Why don’t you explain where I’m going wrong Papi, instead of just dropping crude insults designed to halt discussion and not enable it.

          2. rotide

            When looking for cutting edge climate science, I know I usually rely on computer scientists to provide the analysis (who are particularly bad at cherry picking their glowing quotes)

          3. Papi

            You mention archaeology as one of your sources, well, I’m a licenced archaeologist and I know that the climate change you’re referring to happened over millennia.
            not a century or decades, millennia.
            Do you know the difference? Don’t drag my profession down with your wilful ignorance.

          4. edalicious

            Culchie, I’m not ignoring the ‘evidence’ that you’re talking about, I’m just taking into account the fact that there’s a vastly larger pile of evidence to the contrary. Why are YOU ignoring that evidence?

          5. Culchie

            edalicious, share your evidence if you dare.

            Papi – the 1930’s warming, the 1970’s cooling. Climate changes. It’s what climate does.

          6. edalicious

            Culchie, if you actually haven’t seen any of the evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change and require me to share it here, you are completely ignorant of the topic and are not worth talking to.

            If you are not ignorant of the topic, as you claim, then you clearly have already seen this evidence and are choosing to not believe it, presumably because it disagrees with your preconceived beliefs, or dogma, as you would call it, making you a massive hypocrite and not worth talking to.

            So which is it, do you not know what you’re talking about or are you a hypocrite?

          7. Culchie

            So that’s no evidence from edalicious.

            No evidence from Dan, not even anything approaching a fact.

            Just blind faith in the Chicken Licken dogma.

            Ignore the truth and increase taxes (which has disproportionate consequences for those on fixed income, like a lot of Senior Citizens).

          8. rotide

            I love the way Culchie read Papi’s comment about climate patterns over millenia and epochs and just went ahead and mentioned cooling ‘in the 70s’ .

            We’re not dealing with the sharpest knife in the drawer here.

          9. Papi

            An insane 40 year gap. The plus or minus quotient on most radiocarbon dates can be quadruple that, and given that the last major ice age event in this part of the world was 12,000 years ago, I deduce that poor culchie hasn’t a notion.

      1. Nilbert

        That seems like a highly respected scientific source. See also “The Sky is Falling” , by Chcken LIcken, Turkey Lurkey, Cocky Locky et al, 1955.

    2. ollie

      “Since the economic collapse in 2008, those Over 65 years of age have been the one sector of Irish society whose standards of living have been maintained and in many cases improved.”

      Property tax on a €300,000 house in Fingal is now €445 per Annum.. €5 a week increase in pension is €260 per annum.
      HEalth Insurance Inflation is running at way above a fiver a week, as are transport costs and utility bills.

      Yes Dan, the eldery have never had it so good. By the way, the State pension is €238.30 per week at 65, that’s 20% of what you get.

      1. Dan Boyle

        Wrong again Ollie but right on cue. If you’re going to keep up with this obsession please get your get facts rights. That said I would gladly welcome a 150% increase. On the broader issue I’m arguing for more effective not less spending.

        1. Culchie

          You’re not really on to lecture people on ‘facts’ Dan.

          As you admit, you’ll happily ignore those facts that inconvenience your dogma.

          1. Dan Boyle

            Mea culpa. When you are able to identify a fact please take ownership of it. I can see you are sadly deficient in the area.

          2. Culchie

            The fact is, Dan, you have already admitted above that you will happily ignore those facts that don’t facilitate your fake-science dogma.

            Another fact: Atmospheric CO2 is essential for life on earth.

            Another one: The Climate has always changed, it’s what climate does. Even before the discovery and exploitation of naturally occurring hydro-carbons.

            Here’s a fascinating fact (and another one you will blithely ignore): Taxes don’t change the weather.

          3. Dr.Fart MD

            no, Dan said he’d ignore the likes of you. Read your own comment, to which he replied “no just ignored” .. and from that you carried it around with the guise of it being Dan ignoring facts. You get your ‘facts’ from literally any ol’ source you find, and then that’s that, it’s true. can’t be denied. You’re very Trumpian in your approach to ‘debate’ as you call it, although badgering Dan Boyle on something you know nothing about, on an article he wrote about something else, show’s just why you should be ignored. take me for example, I won’t be coming back to see your unhinged response to this comment. I’ll go ahead and presume it’s more nonsense.

          4. Ronan

            Jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel, I learned this fact whilst reading confirmationbias.wordpress.com


        2. ollie

          So what’s wrong in my post Dan? Spit it out.
          Is this true?
          “Since the economic collapse in 2008, those Over 65 years of age have been the one sector of Irish society whose standards of living have been maintained and in many cases improved.”

          Is this false?
          Property tax on a €300,000 house in Fingal is now €445 per Annum.. €5 a week increase in pension is €260 per annum.
          HEalth Insurance Inflation is running at way above a fiver a week, as are transport costs and utility bills.

          Yes Dan, the eldery have never had it so good. By the way, the State pension is €238.30 per week at 65, that’s 20% of what you get.

          Always with the bull but never with the facts, the musings of Dan

  3. dav

    We are insuring that future generations will be worse off than we were and, quite rightly, they will be rebel against this. The concept of future workers paying the pensions of previous ones will not last long afterwards.

  4. Ollie Cromwell

    I’m intrigued how you think a ” more open immigration ” would be an advantage in meeting future pension needs.

    1. Dan Boyle

      A known benefit of net migration. Immigrants tend to be younger when in the workforce they contribute to the social fund.

          1. Ollie Cromwell

            Brexiteers don’t fear foreigners old boy.
            We welcome them with open arms to our inclusive,multi-cultural society.
            Immigrants have been welcome addition to the NHS and much of the rest of British society since the early 1960s.
            However,we do think there should be suitable checks and balances on their numbers entering the country to ensure they don’t affect the lifestyles of the indigenous population.
            You may think this is racist but we prefer it as a sensible alternative to the struggles of much of Europe at the moment to cope with the huge influx of people with radically different social and moral values.

          2. Nigel


          3. Ollie Cromwell

            By jove there’s no need to shout dear boy.
            Talking about official immigration figures and questioning where the infrastructure is for them shouldn’t be so frightening for you.
            You need to get out more,lovey.

          4. Nigel

            Because the problem with the infrastructure isn’t the immigrants. Unless you’re a far-right fearmonger.

          5. Ollie Cromwell

            You’re right.
            It’s the lack of infrastructure for all the immigrants coming in that’s the problem.
            And the growing resentment of the indigenous population who turn out in big numbers of populist parties.
            You have been following events in Europe for the past couple of years I hope …

          1. ollie

            Utter Nazi?
            Everything I said is true, Dan just refuses to listen to facts that are not his “facts”

    1. ollie

      How about closing reception centres? Process applicants in a timely manner and then issue deportation notices or PPS numbers.

      A fortune saved on direct provision and more taxpayers,
      Or how about sending asylum seekers back to the first EU country they entered, which is what is supposed to happen. Then when thay are allowed stay they can pay all those inflated pensions

  5. Dan Boyle

    10% will under restrictive circumstances. None do as yet, despite a court decision to the contrary.

  6. Ollie Cromwell

    From the same report,
    Ireland wants the right to call Brexiteers racist but when they start kicking out illegal immigrants after Brexit please make sure they don;’t come here.
    Marvellous,what ?

    ” The figures come to light just days after a Department of Justice briefing emerged warning the Government that an influx of “illegals” into the State after Britain leaves the EU could “sink” the asylum system and strain other public services.

    The report estimates that there are between 400,000 and 800,000 so-called illegals from outside the European Economic Area living in the UK, and warns that should the UK’s immigration regime even appear to tighten after Brexit “the most obvious option would be to seek to exploit the Common Travel Area and come to Ireland”.

    Were even 1 per cent of these to come to Ireland and claim asylum it could mean an additional 6,000 applicants, the briefing report states. “

      1. Starina


        Ollie you were only gloating yesterday that the Irish leave here to earn squillions in London and never come back to Ireland. Which is it?

          1. Ollie Cromwell

            You do know that Irish people moved to the UK before the EU was even formed ?
            Yet somehow you think these arrangements won’t continue after Brexit.
            You probably think they should be stockpiling tins of Spam as well …

          2. Starina

            Ollie, before the EU was formed, Ireland was a part of the UK. It was internal migration.

        1. Papi

          He can’t be expected to remember things like facts, there are immigrants to fear, awful culture to be protected and high horses to be climbed.

      2. Ollie Cromwell

        You tell us Dan.
        You’ve taken the Queen’s Shilling so how is life on the mainland ?

  7. Ollie Cromwell

    And a general election where 80% of the people voted for parties who pledged to honour the outcome of the Brexit referendum and take Blightt out of the SM and CU.
    This followed the largest mandate in British political history in which a majority of our Welsh friends also voted for Brexit.
    I’m a big fan of democracy and not overly keen on a strutting French martinet demanding a country change its mind.

  8. Dan Boyle

    No they didn’t. Both parties are horrendously split on the issue. Brexit is a minority obsession. It always has been. It got one bounce of a ball, somewhat illegally. on one day.

    1. Ollie Cromwell

      17.4 million votes a ” minority obsession ” ?
      That’s like saying the Greens are a powerful and influential party in Ireland.
      Or the UK.

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