A campaign aimed at ending poverty among pensioners was launched in Liberty Hall, Dublin, today (Monday, 19th June) with a call for the Government to honour its promise of a state contributory pension rate of 34% of average earnings. The launch was addressed by representatives of the Pension Promise Coalition which includes SIPTU, the National Women’s Council, Age Action, Active Retirement Ireland, and members of the Senior Citizen’s Parliament. The event was chaired by the President of the SIPTU Retired Members Section, Padraig Peyton.  SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “Today, we kicked off a series of town hall meetings set to take place around the country over the summer demanding that the government keep its pension promise. It is clear from the turnout that there is a huge appetite to eradicate pension poverty once and for all and to build a pension system that is both fair and flexible. Currently, there is an enormous €53-a-week shortfall in what the government pays out to people on a state contributory pension and what people would be entitled to if our campaign was successful. That is simply not sustainable. “Our next meeting is in Cork, and it is our firm intention to make sure the Tánaiste, Michael Martin, the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Simon Coveney, hear, from their own constituents, the Pension Promise coalition's demands loud and crystal clear. A state pension rate of 34% of average earnings now or risk forcing even more older people into pension poverty.” Irish Senior Citizens Parliament CEO, Sue Shaw said: “It is the sense of people blaming themselves for the predicament they are in which is one of the biggest barriers that we face. Meetings such as this are very important to let people know it is Government policy which has them poor, after years dedicated to working or caring for family, not themselves.” Age Action Senior Public Affairs and Policy Specialist, Nat O’Connor, said: “The spending power of occupational and private pensions, and of savings, has declined due to inflation. There is likely to be a long-term scarring effect on the financial situation of all older persons due to the current period of inflation. Older people need the state pensions to be benchmarked to give them some measure of financial security in older age.” CEO of Active Retirement Ireland, Maureen Kavanagh said: “90% of respondents from our recent survey on income and income supports called for the pension to be set at least 34% of the average median wage. Active Retirement Ireland says it is time for the Government to honour its commitment on the state pension.” The Pension Promise Campaign will be holding regional meetings in the Imperial Hotel in Cork on Monday, 26th June, The Galmont Hotel in Galway on Monday 3rd July, The Westenra Hotel, Monaghan town, on Friday, 7th July and the Granville Hotel, Waterford, on Monday, 10th July.