Archive for May, 2009

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Westport European and Local Election Meeting – 14 May 2009

May 29, 2009

DSCF0759The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Westport meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 14 May 2009 in the Plougastel Court Centre. Candidates from the North-West Euro Constituency and Westport local electoral areas were invited.

The meeting was attended by one European Candidate: Michael McNamara.

Michael spoke about issues that are important to him such as the lack of power held by the local authorities, implementation of EU funding at regional level & the importance & availability of European wide broadband.

The meeting in Westport was attended by 5 local candidates, Myles Staunton (Fine Gael), Christy Hyland (Fine Gael), Peter Flynn (Fine Gael), Keith Martin (Labour) & Ollie Gannon (Fine Gael).

Among the issues raised with the candidates were:  medical cards, the suspension of the grant system for the personal alarms, the refuse charge waiver scheme, rural transport & library resources.
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The Westport meeting was hosted by the Westport Active Retirement Association and was atteDSCF0753nded by many of the local people from a number of Older Peoples groups frmo Mayo & Sligo. Pauline Berry, vice-President of Westport Active Retirement and Breda O’Malley,  Máiréad Hayes, CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor,  Policy officer of the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament also attended.

Marian Harkin MEP (Independent) and Fiachra Ó Luain (Independent) along with Mary Thornton (representing Declan Ganley of Libertas) had attended the meeting in Galway the previous day. Apologies were received from Jim Higgins MEP, Susan O’Keefe, Pat the Cope Gallagher TD and Paschal Mooney.

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Galway European and Local Election Meeting – 13 May 2009

May 28, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Galway meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 13 May 2009 in the Salthill Hotel. Candidates from the North-West Euro Constituency and Galway local electoral areas were invited.
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The meeting was attended by two European Candidates: Marian Harkin MEP (Independent) and Fiachra Ó Luain (Independent). Mary Thornton was also present representing Declan Ganley (Libertas).

The day began with a presentation on Elder Abuse by Susan Rodden, HSE Senior Case Worker (Elder Abuse) in Galway. The group was drawn to the fact that 85% of people who are abused are living in their own homes, 45% of abusers are family members the majority of whom are sons or daughters and in 62% of cases the Older Person is living with their abuser.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion and a question and answer session.

Marian Harkin MEP spoke about pensions (outlining her work in this area), rural transport & the removal of the Community Support Scheme.

Fiachra Ó Luain spoke about how both the younger & older generations had been “robbed by the Government”.

Mary Thornton (on behalf of Declan Ganley) spoke about medical cards, childrens’ allowances & that women should be enabled to be at home with their children.
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The meeting was joined by 5 local candidates Cllr. Niall Ó Brolcháin (Green Party), Tom Hanly (Sinn Féin), AJ Cahill (Independent), Sheila Mangan (Fianna Fáil), and Cllr. Catherine Connolly (Independent).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included: the provision of community facilities & involvement, isolation of older people, water quality, the removal of the medical cards from over-70s, the removal of the Christmas bonus & widows pensions.
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The Galway meeting was chaired by Evelyn Moran, Honorary Secretary of the ISCP. It was attended by a large group of representatives from local Senior Citizen groups, Active Retirement groups and volunteers from the Senior Help Line. Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer also attended.

Michael McNamara attended the meeting in Westport the next day. Apologies were received from Jim Higgins MEP, Susan O’Keefe, Pat the Cope Gallagher TD and Paschal Mooney.

Further coverage:

Galway

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Dundalk European and Local Election Meeting – 20 May 2009

May 27, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place in Dundalk in the Carroll Mead Hall on 20 May 2009. Candidates from the East Euro Constituency and Dundalk local electoral areas were invited.

The meeting was attended by three European Candidates, Nessa Childers (Labour Party), Raymond O’Malley (Libertas) and Mairead McGuinness MEP (Fine Gael).

ISCP in DundalkNessa Childers spoke about the introduction of a Europe wide travel-pass for older people, individual care plans for people over 65 and a €1 voucher scheme for all sporting events for people over 65.

Raymond O’Malley spoke about the need for vigilance around cuts to services and entitlements, more fexibility around retirement arrangements and problems around caring & housing for older people.

Mairead McGuinness spoke about the Louth landfill dump, economic recovery for Europe and the usefulness of the Petitions committee of the European Parliament.

Dundalk Euro & local candidatesThe meeting was later joined by five local candidates: Syd Smith (People before Profit), George Enyoazu (Green Party), Joe Woodcock (Labour), Frank O’Brien (Labour) and Paddy Malone (Fine Gael).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly such as the maintenance of footpaths in the town and the repair of existing potholes. Public transport and the organisation’s call for the re-instating of the Christmas bonus and free GP cards were also key issues that were discussed.

The meeting was chaired by Jim Cousins, chairperson of the ISCP Louth Division. Máiréad Hayes, CEO of the Parliament and Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer attended. Also present was Peter B Sands, Honorary Secretary of the Louth Division, and a group of local representatives from groups such as Ardee and Dundalk active retirement and local senior citizens clubs.

Apologies were received from Liam Aylward MEP (FF) and John Paul Phelan TD (FG).

Further coverage:

The Argus announced the meeting beforehand (click here to see) and reported on it afterwards (click here to see) and also ran a picture from it (click here to see).

Dundalk.

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Silent support to reinstate Christmas bonus

May 22, 2009

Silent Dáil ProtestA variety of TDs, MEPs (& MEP candidates), by-election candidates and local election candidates came out to lend their support to the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament campaign to reinstate the Christmas bonus.

A small group of activists from the Parliament (some came from as far away as Westport) gathered outside Leinster House at lunchtime on Thursday 21 May 2009 to protest the savage 2% cut in the state pension to some of the most vulnerable in Irish society. It was agreed beforehand that a small silent protest would be the most appropriate way to make our feelings on this badly targetted cutback known.

Silent ProtestEvery TD had been informed & we were delighted to be joined by a number of them. Their solidarity was enhanced when we were also joined by a number of candidates for the local & European elections as well as a Dublin Central by-election candidate.

The ISCP quietly made our point – the next time we might be noisier.

What do you think?

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Silent Protest on Christmas Bonus

May 18, 2009

cnv001362The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament is organising a small Silent Protest outside Dáil Éireann on Thursday, 21st May 2009, from 1.15 – 2.20pm, as part of our campaign to have the Christmas Bonus re-instated.

The Protest will coincide with our two Meetings (morning and afternoon) in the European Parliament Office that day on the theme Communicating Europe / European Elections.

Older People have become totally dependent on this extra payment in the dead of winter to help with their fuel, heating and lighting bills.

Hypothermia is a major difficulty for Older People, causing a number of deaths each year. Whilst this payment is termed a “bonus” the fact is that Older People are reliant on this additional payment to help with these additional winter costs.

We are appealing, in particular, to our Dublin affiliates for their support for our Campaign, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in the lives of Older People.

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Public meetings on elder abuse & elections

May 13, 2009

In the run-up to the European & Local elections, the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is organising a series of meetings around the country.

The meetings’ topics will centre around three main themes all of which are of paramount importance to Older People:

  • Elder Abuse
  • Communicating Europe & the European Elections
  • Local Elections

ISCP meeting

The meetings will be in the following locations:

  • North West Constituency: There are two meetings, one inthe Salthill Hotel, Galway on 13th May 2009 at 1.30pm. The other is in the Plougastel Court Centre, Westport on 14thMay 2009  at 11.30am.
  • South Constituency: There are three meetings, one in the Best Western Pery’s Hotel, Limerick on 19th May 2009. There were 2 others in Cork on May 11.
  • East Constituency: Meeting in Dundalk on 20th May 2009 in the Carroll Mead Hall at 2.00pm.
  • Dublin Constituency: There are two meetings in Dublin on 21st May 2009, a morning meeting at 11.30am and an afternoon meeting at 2.oopm. Both will be in the European Parliament Office, Molesworth Street

Older peoples concernsWe will produce an Election Manifesto which will be sent to all candidates and Political Parties outlining the needs of Older People.

It is important at this critical time for Older People that we have a large turnout and, therefore, we ask that you would encourage your friends to come along.

Please notify dorlores@seniors.ie regarding the EU meeting/s you would like to attend.

Local Elections

At each meeting time will be allocated for Local Election candidates standing in Galway City, Westport, Dundalk and Limerick City Electoral Areas.

Cork Elder Abuse workshop

There were 20 members of the division present at the Cork workshop. What was interesting to note about this meeting was that for many of the Older People present they were unfamiliar with the term elder abuse and were very interested in the idea. The discussion included a run through of what was considered Elder Abuse and members of the group felt very enthused that this was an issue they wanted to create awareness on, as a result they made a note to include a section in their newsletter on this topic.

An information pack was distributed to the group by the senior case social worker present. This information included the contact information for the Elder Abuse social workers in the area along with information on how to spot the signs of Elder Abuse.

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Fergus Finlay on Community Support for Older People

May 5, 2009

Fergus Finlay speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime 22/04/2009

Fergus at the ISCP Annual Parliment MeetingI met the Senior Citizens’ Parliament last Friday at their Annual Conference in Dublin. They are an impressive and determined group of people who have two aims, to be a strong voice representing Older People and their needs and to promote inter-generational solidarity.

Although God knows I am not far off being qualified to be a member of the Parliament, I was there because my day job involves supporting children and I wanted to suggest that at times like this all the generations should be working together.

What I found when I met the Parliament was a group of very angry people, they are still angry about last years Medical Card fiasco and determined it won’t happen again and they are equally angry about the decision in the Budget of a fortnight ago to deprive pensioners of the now well established Christmas bonus.

ISCP APM 2009Their President, Sylvia Meehan, made the point passionately at the conference that this latest cut would mean that a lot of Irish pensioners, especially those who live alone will be colder and hungrier this year.

But when you speak to the Parliament member’s individually one thing becomes very clear, these are the people who never want to be a drain on the State. They are proud of the contribution they have made over their lifetime, raising families, holding down jobs, paying their taxes, involving themselves in all sorts of community activities. They have been through all the hardships of the past and they have paid their dues, what they want now and what they deserve is to be treated with respect.

There is one other thing that the members of that generation all have in common: ‘independence’, they are still more than prepared to carry their share of the burden and more than prepared to look after themselves and indeed in the times that we live in many of the Grandparents all are still contributing to the economy by enabling their children to participate.

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