Sir, – The Irish Times reports that Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty is contemplating withholding increases in contributory pensions from many pensioners, apparently targeting only those living alone, on the grounds that they are in greater need (News, September 20th). However, these pensions have been built up by direct contributions via PRSI over a working lifetime (non-contributory pensions are already means-tested). Why does she not limit children’s allowances to those in need? These allowances are funded through general taxation, not an insurance scheme, yet are not means-tested at all, with every increase going to every family, no matter their income.
Similarly, Minister for Health Simon Harris is considering a ban on unvaccinated children attending creches (News, September 16th), having received legal advice that mandatory vaccination in schools is unlikely to go ahead after the attorney general raised objections. Why does Mr Harris not make children’s allowances conditional on vaccination? There is no constitutional right to these allowances, and it is entirely reasonable to make these payments dependent on vaccinations.
It seems children’s allowances are a sacred cow, beyond any reasonable discussion. – Yours, etc,