Independent Alliance: Budget package for pensioners 'phase two' of government deal

TD Seán Canney says the group is pushing for measures that have already been negotiated

independent alliance

Independents Finian McGrath, Kevin Moran, Shane Ross and Sean Canney outside Government Buildings in April 2016 | Photo: RollingNews.ie

A member of the Independent Alliance has played down reports that its budget demands have been shot down by the government.

A report in today's Irish Times said Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe rejected a number of requests made by the group.

These include the restoration of cuts to the bereavement grant, fuel allowance and the telephone allowance, the paper reported.

Galway East TD Seán Canney told Newstalk Breakfast that discussions over the proposed measures were still in progress.

Asked if the Independent Alliance is seeking a specific package for pensioners, he said: "One of the issues in the programme for government is to protect the elderly and to enhance their income.

"Maybe this budget will see an opportunity to start that process."

Mr Canney added that the grouping was working in a "very constructive" way with its partners in government.

"Hopefully the budget itself will reflect how a partnership government can work," he said.

The minister for state told the programme that measures being sought by his colleagues should come as no surprise to other cabinet members.

"Everything we talk about now is phase two, following on from our negotiations in government," he said.

"We now have to implement some of the policies.

"Any issue we have and are pursuing is no surprise to anyone. It's what we negotiated in the government.”

He declined to confirm if any of the group's proposals had been dismissed, however, saying: "These reports are reports.

"We've had discussions with our partners in government and it's ongoing.

"We will get there and hopefully we will have a budget that reflects common sense and the sacrifices a lot of people have made over the last 10 years."

The programme for government includes commitments to increase the state pension and the living alone allowance above the rate of inflation.