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Fianna Fáil favour €5 increase in state pension in budget

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says he favours a €5 increase in the state pension next year but that budgets talks on a welfare-related package for 2019 are still underway with the government.

Speaking on the second day of his party's parliamentary party meeting in Malahide, Dublin, he also said revenue raising measures were being discussed but the priority was to fund services next year.

Pic: Conor McCabe Photography

The party today discussed health care as well as housing and are also considering the Scally report which is addressing concerns around transparency in the cervical cancer screening system.

Speaking about the budget, Mr Martin told reporters that specifics had yet to be agreed on a welfare package for next year.

Nonetheless, Mr Martin said he would support a €5 increase in the state pension.

This has also been flagged as being considered by the government.

“We were instrumental in ensuring that over the last two years,” added the party leader.

His party is also open to revenue raising measures.

It has been flagged that increases in carbon tax and a higher VAT rate for the tourism sector will provide this in 2019.

“Everything that we do in the budget is predicated on protecting the less well off in society, protecting people on low incomes,” added Mr Martin.

The Government is deciding on how to spend an extra €800m next year, between services and tax measures.

Fianna Fáil is pushing for a €200m affordable homes package, a reduction in hospital waiting lists, as well as further supports for low-income families.

The confidence and supply agreement between the Fine Gael-led government and Fianna Fáil states that there must be pension increases.

The last two budgets increased the state pension by a total of €10 a week, between the two years.

Fianna Fáil now wants the equivalent increase for pensioners in Budget 2019.