Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock, has said it is “more vital than ever” that Budget 2018 considers the restoration of the phone allowance for elderly people following another hike in the monthly line rental charge by €84 a year by Eir.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Rock said: “One of the measures undertaken by the new leader of Fine Gael, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, was a consultation process involving each constituency and their budget priorities.

“The restoration of the telephone allowance was emphatically at the top of our list, and it’s clear that people have been crying out for it.

“The announcement today of this latest rise – totalling some €84 a year – heightens the urgency of that need and I believe it is imperative that the Government looks at this.

“The measure would cost €48m per annum but would be a real step in the right direction in showing that Fine Gael is committed to fairness and in ensuring the oldest in our society have a fair deal”.

“This is the third year in a row that Eir has increased charges and for those who have kept their phone line since the abolition of the phone allowance, the rises are effectively eating any increase in the pension. A restoration of the telephone allowance at this stage would clearly mean a lot to a great many people”.