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Review of Free to AIR Sporting Events

July 28, 2014

Review of Designated Events & Designation of Major Events

The Deadline for submissions in connection with the above topic has been extended to 15th August.  

 The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is inviting  submissions from members of the public and interested parties on the list of designated events which must be provided “Free to Air” on a LIVE or Deferred basis.

The matter of the GAA arrangements where by  SKY ” Pay to View”  now have rights to a certain number of matches in the Hurling and Football Championships was the subject of a lively debate at our recent Annual Parliament Meeting. Now is the time to take this opportunity to have your voice heard on this matter across all sporting events. You can make a submission by email or in writing see details below. Alternatively you can email your views to info@seniors.ie.

The Minister is required to undertake a review of the list of events designated as events of major importance to society for which the right of a qualifying broadcaster (RTE, TV3, & TG4 i.e. free television service with greater than 90 percent coverage) to provide coverage on a live or deferred basis on television services should be permitted in the public interest. Section 173 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 provides that a review is carried out every three years and submissions on the designated events and the possible designation of additional events are sought.

The events currently designated are listed in the Order dated 13 March 2003 S.I. 99 of 2003 and in short are as follows:

Live:

The Summer Olympics

The All-Ireland Senior Inter-County Football & Hurling Finals

Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in the European Football Championship & the FIFA World Cup Tournaments

Ireland’s games in the European Football Championship Finals Tournament and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament

The opening games, the semi-finals and final of the European Football Championship Finals and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament

Ireland’s games in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament

The Irish Grand National and the Irish Derby

The Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show

Deferred Events 

Ireland’s games in the Six Nations Rugby Football Championship

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 15th August 2014.

Have you say send a Submissions may be provided either by email to majorevents@dcenr.gov.ie or by hard copy to

Maria Owens, Major Events Coverage, Broadcasting Policy Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, 29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2.

If, following the review, the Minister proposes to add to the list of designated events, he will publish a notice of any additional events that he intends to designate and invite comments on the said list.

Freedom of Information

It should be noted that the Department proposes to publish all material submitted on the Department’s website. Respondents should clearly identify material that is confidential and which may not be published. The provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 to 2003 shall apply.

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APM News in Brief 2014 Irish Senior Citizens Parliament 2014

July 3, 2014

The Annual Parliament Meeting 2014 took place in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre on 13th & 14th May 2014 at which the following Officers and Executive Committee were elected to serve for the coming year

President: John Walsh
Vice-President: Nell Foley
Hon. Secretary: Evelyn Moran
Treasurer: Ena O’Mahoney

Trustees: John Tierney, John J. McLoughlin

Executive Committee Members:
Paddy Behan, Imelda Browne, Padraic Browne, Larry Burtenshaw, Peter Campbell, Paddy Coughlan, Larry Duggan, Joe Jennings, David McManus, Patrick Morgan, Antonia Murphy, Seamus Murray, Patrick Philpott, Patrick A. Stanley, Paul Walsh.
Delegates attended a dinner and social evening on Tuesday night which was enjoyed by all.
APM 2014 – Motions
The following motions were passed at APM 2014:

Call for the appointment of a Full Minister for Older People.
Protection of Older People call for a high level meeting with government to impress upon them the need to protect older people both financially and in all aspects of their lives.
Household Benefits Package Cuts there were strong calls for the reversal of the cuts to all of the benefits with each one detailed by several speakers with great passion and vigour.
Restoration of Telephone Allowance strong calls for its restoration to ensure people retain landlines for security systems especially where broadband coverage is inadequate.

Bereavement Grant to be restored.
Living Alone Allowance called for an increase in the rate for this essential payment which has remained static for several years.
Medical Card Restoration called for the restoration of the over 70s medical card.
Prescription Charges called for the Parliament to campaign for their abolition. They have increased by 500% since their introduction.
Medical Card Assessment Methods called for the system in place for the renewal of cards for older people in Nursing Homes to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Many cards were stopped for these vulnerable people and the excuse was that their new address was not known to the Department of Health.
Universal Health Insurance called on the Parliament to engage in all aspects of the consultation process and to closely monitor all areas of this government proposal to ensure that older people are protected.
Crisis in the Health Services the APM viewed with alarm the deterioration of services for young and old. As an emergency measure it called for the appointment of individual Ministers with full Ministerial power to handle designated areas for a specified period.
Drugs & Alcohol Misuse condemned by delegates who urged more services so that the harm and anxiety caused to older people and families across the country would end.
Closure of Garda Stations called for a structure to be put in place to ensure adequate care and protection for older and vulnerable people in urban and rural areas with particular emphasis on those living in rural areas.
Pre-Pension Older People called for the position of this group to be treated as a special category in discussions with government. For many their sole income is €188 per week job seeker benefit and there are few if any prospects of a job.
Transparency in the Appointment of Pension Trustees called as a matter of urgency, for a transparent system for the appointment of Trustees to Occupational Pension Schemes. There is a concern that many appointments are controlled by the employers.
Social Welfare & Pensions (No 2) Bill 2013 called for a review of this provision which allowed for pensions in payment to be reduced by Trustees of Schemes. There is serious concern at the manner and speed with which Scheme Trustees are using this provision to reduce pensions in payment to the maximum allowed. Further there is a concern that employers, many of whom are cash rich, are walking away from their responsibilities or are not being pressed to contribute under the legislation.
Pension Protection Fund called for the establishment of a fund financed along the lines of the UK Protection Fund.
“Right of Audience” for Pensioners called for the ISCP to pursue the right of pensioners to use the Industrial Relations Machinery of the State to vindicate their rights.
Penalty for the non-payment of Household Charge (no longer in place) to be abolished.
Water Charges called for the charges to be scrapped based on the view that they are unjust and unfair. There has not been sufficient consultation leading to uncertainty regarding the charging mechanisms and the ultimate costs which will be imposed.
“Putting People First” The Alignment Report called for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government who published this report to amend the proposals for the tendering process for the delivery of services to disadvantaged communities. Such amendments to reflect proven previous experience, long term relationships with disadvantaged communities and the ability to deliver community services.
Loss of Free to AIR viewing of GAA Matches called for Executive Committee to make representations to the GAA, the Minister and the Provider to seek a solution which would allow older and disabled people especially those in rural areas who cannot afford the cost of Pay to View and are unable to travel to access a service.
Privitisation of Dublin Bus Routes concern expressed by the Ballyfermot Seniors Forum that this action would have a detrimental effect on the services available to older people.
Reductions in Dublin Rosslare Rail Services called for the Incoming Executive to make representations to the Minister for Transport to ensure that an adequate service is maintained.
Repeal of Stamp Duty Pensions Levy called for the ISCP to ensure that this levy and the legislation enabling it is repealed. It is causing extreme hardship to many schemes who are already in deficit as well as additional hardship to pensioners whose pensions are being to pay it.
Private Health Insurance Tax Relief motion called for the original arrangement, whereby, the total amount of the premium paid was allowed for tax purposes to be restored.
Medical Expenses Tax Relief called for the relief to be given at the marginal rather than the standard rate.
Post Office Closures motion called for the reversal of the closure of Post Offices and their transfer from rural to urban areas and urged the ISCP to pursue this matter with Government.
Closure of Small Local Credit Unions called for the ISCP to make representations to ensure that solvent successful local credit unions are allowed to remain open.

Raffle 2014
Tickets are available for Raffle 2014 which will be held on Thursday 9th October 2014. Please support the efforts of our Fundraising Committee. Tickets are a book of 3 for €5 or €2 each.

Hard Copies of “News In Brief” are available on request

email to info@seniors.ie for any queries, comments suggestions and offers to assist in any way whether financial or as a volunteer.

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THE DEATH HAS OCCURRED OF OWEN A CURRAN FAIRVIEW DUBLIN

May 9, 2014

Owen was a former Executive member and current member of the Standing Orders Committee of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament. We shall miss his assistance, sound advice and wonderful sense of humour which always lightened our mood and day. Our heartfelt sympathies to his beloved wife Ita and his loving children Eugene C.M., Margaret, Paul and Kevin, grandchildren, in-laws, relatives and friends.

Reposing at home from 6pm today Friday 9th May with, removal on Saturday morning to the Church of the Visitation of the BVM, Fairview Strand, Fairview arriving for 11.30am Funeral Mass. Burial immediately thereafter in Glasnevin Cemetery. Donations, if desired, to The Sunshine Fund of The Society of St Vincent de Paul or a charity of your choice.

May he rest in peace.  

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The Irish Senior Citizens are back in the Blogsphere

April 2, 2014

Today the Minister for Health and the goverenment published the White Paper its on Universal Health Insurance. Its available at

http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/White-Paper-Final-version-1-April-2014.pdf.

We urge all older people to get a copy or read it online. Its important to all of us. Ensure you have your say let us have your views to email address, info @seniors.ie or by post to 90 Fairview Strand Dublin 3.

Mairead Hayes

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Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year

December 18, 2013

ISCP Christmas Card 2011

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RIGHT OF AUDIENCE FOR PENSIONERS

November 25, 2013

 RIGHT OF AUDIENCE FOR PENSIONERS

NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament notes that the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D. on behalf of the government has published the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill (No 2) and that it will be befere Seanad Eireann tomorrow Tuesday 26th November. The Bill will change the  Priority Order for Defined Benefit Schemes as well as granting Trustees of Schemes increased powers to restructure schemes which will greatly impact on those workers who are already on pension. 

 The ISCP and its members are concerned that once again the issue of the

RIGHT OF AUDIENCE FOR PENSIONERS

is not being dealt with in this Bill  

 It is worth reiterating that pensioners are former workers who are now in receipt of a benefit for which they and their employer paid during their working lives. Employers asserted that pension payments and sponsorship of pension schemes was a benefit to an employee and was a valid part of remuneration. Membership of schemes was compulsory and all were members, whether active, deferred or members in receipt of pensions

 Prior to the early 1970s pensioners had a right of audience to the Industrial Relations Machinery of the State. Following a successful pensioner case the then Minister for Labour Affairs changed the law the result of whihc is that pensioners have no redress mechanism available to them. When this matter was raised by the ISCP with government the response was   “since pensions in payment could not be reduced there was no need for such access”.

 Mairead Hayes CEO of the ISCP said “this reason is no longer valid as the position has changed dramatically as pensions in payment have been reduced because of the imposition of the Stamp Duty Pension Levy. Now with the introduction of this legislation there is a prospect that they will be further drastically reduced”. Continuing she said “If the government are serious about FAIRNESS + intergenerational Equality then they must start by giving pensioners a right of audience.”

In many schemes Pensioners and or their associations are denied access to Scheme Trustees. This is regrettable at a time when the power of Trustees is being greatly increased. We are concerned that “the option to restructure a scheme”  outside the Double and Single Insolvency process confer powers on Trustees to act in a manner which might not be open and transparent to all of the stakeholders of a scheme. We ask the Minister to ensure that such powers are counterbalances, as a quid pro quo, by the recognition of pensioners active participants in all the processes which affect their scheme.  There must be fairness and transparency for all involved with equal rights to information, accountability up to and including access to the State Industrial Relations Machinery.  

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DEATH OF OUR ESTEEMED EXECUTIVE MEMBER

November 14, 2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our long standing  Executive Member JIM COUSINS.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family at this sad time.    

Jim will be sadly missed by all those who knew and worked with him on behalf of older people.

May he rest in peace  

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