Archive for March, 2010

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Emergency Motions pass at APM

March 31, 2010

Two emergency Motions were passed at the Annual Parliament Meeting of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament today.

The first motion called on the Government to address without delay the current dispute in the public services due to the effect it was having on Older People in relation to pensions and other social and medical services. This motion was proposed by the Finglas Division of the ISCP and got full support from the delegates.

President Mary McAleese and Senior Citizens ParliamentAnother motion was also passed demanding that medical card renewals for Older People be immediately extended for a period of two years as the HSE figures show that the vast majority of Older People qualify. This motion was passed unanimously and in the context of the backlog – running into thousands – in renewing medical cards. It was also proposed that all new medical cards should be for a three year period rather than the current two years.

Uachtarán na hÉireann, Mary McAleese thanked the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament for its work at the Annual Parliament Meeting on Friday. Speaking about the Parliament, President McAleese said “it only exists because you care about the quality of life of our senior citizens and care enough to get involved, get organised and insist on being heard … The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is a stellar example of older people working for older people and for Irish society, infusing it with their vitality, vision and distilled wisdom.”

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President Mary McAleese thanks the Senior Citizens Parliament

March 27, 2010

Uachtarán na hÉireann, Mary McAleese thanked the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament for its work at the Annual Parliament Meeting today.

President Mary McAleeseSpeaking about the Parliament, President McAleese said “it only exists because you care about the quality of life of our senior citizens and care enough to get involved, get organised and insist on being heard … The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is a stellar example of older people working for older people and for Irish society, infusing it with their vitality, vision and distilled wisdom.”

Of Sylvia Meehan, President McAleese said that she “is a classic example of the surging energy and potential of Ireland’s seniors and it was great to see her recognised in 2009 when she was presented with the ‘People of the Year Award’.

She said that Ireland’s older People had “faced little else over a lifetime but a struggle against tough and implacable odds. You remember many different Irelands in which lives were constrained and even wasted by poverty, lack of access to education, the drain of emigration, the recurring misery of conflict”.

“We are delighted that the President has taken time from her busy schedule to come to our Annual Parliament and meet representatives of Ireland’s Older People” said the Parliament’s CEO, Máiréad Hayes. “President McAleese’s knows all about the Parliament’s work and Sylvia Meehan’s determination and commitment to Older People and equal rights. The ISCP is honoured to have the President of Ireland with us to thank Sylvia Meehan for her tenure as President of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.”

ISCP President Sylvia Meehan urged delegates to the Annual Parliament to continue to lift the barriers of ageism and discrimination.

The 14th Annual Parliament of the ISCP continues in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre today (Friday 26 March) and tomorrow. The Annual Parliament provides the ISCP’s affiliated member organisations with an opportunity to promote the views of older people, to set policy for the Parliament and to elect officers for the coming year.

Among the concerns of Older People issues being discussed at the Annual Parliament will be pensions, medical cards, prescription charges, water charges and the withdrawal of the additional payment at Christmas.

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Older People facing serious issues

March 26, 2010

Older People are facing a variety of challenges in their lives today – now more so than ever before – according to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

Voice of the elderly2009 brought Irish people the continuing banking and credit crisis, the Nursing Home Support Scheme, the introduction of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), the “Bord Snip Nua” Report, a supplementary Budget as well as Budget 2010, the continuation of the over-70s Medical Card crisis and the withdrawal of the Additional Christmas Payment. There were further threats to cut existing and future pensions and other entitlements as well a promise of further levies.

We face in 2010 the prospect of a Carbon Tax, metered water charges, the introduction of prescription charges and a decrease or abolition in waivers for waste charges as well as VAT on local authority charges. The over-70s medical card debacle continues with the backlog in renewing medical cards. We also perceive an effort to abolish all Universal Payments and in particular to change some of the entitlements for Older People.

These and other issues will be discussed at the Annual Parliament Meeting of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament this weekend. The ISCP urges the incoming Minister for Older People to implement the vision set out in “Towards 2016” and provide the necessary supports to enable Older People to maintain their health and well-being as well as to live active and full lives in an independent way in their own homes and communities.

The 14th Annual Parliament of the ISCP will take place in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre from 2.00pm today, Friday 26 March, to 1.00pm Saturday 27 March 2010. The Annual Parliament provides the ISCP’s affiliated member organisations with an opportunity to promote the views of older people, to set policy for the Parliament and to elect officers for the coming year.

Among the issues to be discussed at the Annual Parliament will be pensions, medical cards, prescription charges, water charges and the withdrawal of the Additional payment at Christmas.

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President Mary McAleese to address Senior Citizens Parliament

March 25, 2010

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese will address the Annual Parliament Meeting of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament on Friday 26th March at 15.30 pm. The Parliament are delighted that the President has taken time out from her busy schedule to attend at the Parliament Meeting and to address the delegates gathered there to welcome her.

The ISCP are only too well aware of the commitment of President McAleese to Older People and are delighted that she will address the meeting.

Senior citizens are aware of the position that Ireland faces at this time as a result of the downturn in the economy. They are concerned for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. It is truly a time for intergenerational solidarity something which President McAleese in her Presidency has been keen to encourage and nurture.

Delegates from all parts of Ireland will discus the issues which are important to them in their daily lives. Sylvia Meehan a long-time champion of equal rights, President of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and a winner of a “Rehab People of the Year” award 2009 will chair the Parliament Meeting.

The 14th Annual Parliament of the ISCP will take place in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre from 2.00pm on Friday 26 March to 1.00pm Saturday 27 March 2010. The Annual Parliament provides the ISCP’s affiliated member organisations with an opportunity to promote the views of older people, to set policy for the Parliament and to elect officers for the coming year.

Among the issues to be discussed at the Annual Parliament will be pensions, medical cards, prescription charges, water charges and the withdrawal of the Additional payment at Christmas.

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Medical card renewal problems – Change needed now

March 24, 2010

The current backlog in renewing medical cards is outrageous and causing untold difficulties to thousands of ill Older People according to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

As it is self-evident from the HSE’s own figures and statistics that the vast majority of Older People qualify for a medical card, the ISCP proposes that until such time as the difficulties being experienced in processing medical card renewals are resolved all medical cards for Older People should be extended for a period of two years with immediate effect.

By this process staff should be freed up to handle applications from those who are newly unemployed and also alleviate some of the hardship they are suffering.

Any new cards being issued should be for a three year period rather than the current two year period. We demand that the HSE immediately seek clearance from the Department of Health and Children to implement this proposal.

“The backlog in respect of the renewal of cards for people over 70 in the Finglas centre is now running into the thousands. This backlog coupled with the short renewal period is causing problems and hardship for Older People. These difficulties are further compounded by the fact that people cannot get replies to telephone queries made to the central renewal office” said the Parliament’s CEO, Máiréad Hayes.

“The practical effect of this is that Older People who are entitled to a medical card have instead to pay substantial medical fees and prescription charges. For those on continuing medication, the position has become an intolerable financial burden which is inflicting great hardship and may lead to further their health problems ” continued Ms Hayes.

“These difficulties further strengthen our view that the decision to remove the Universal right to a medical card from the over-70s was a very bad one. A long-term solution to this backlog is to restore this universal entitlement and thus protect the health of Older People” concluded Ms Hayes.

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Annual Parliament Meeting – 26-27 March 2010

March 23, 2010

Do you want to hear what Older People think about Ireland 2010?

Much, Oh So Much, has changed since our last Annual Parliament Meeting.

Come along to the Liberty Hall Theatre and Conference Centre on Friday 26 & Saturday 27 March to hear what our senior citizens have to say about these changes and how they affect their daily lives.

Breda O'Malley at the APMCome along and meet the delegates representing our affiliated organisations and hear what they have to say on such issues about pensions, medical cards, water charges and the withdrawal of the additional payment at Christmas to name a few.

The meeting starts at 1300hrs on Friday and at 1030hrs on Saturday. A copy of the Final Agenda and Standing Order is below.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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National Pensions Framework

March 4, 2010

Following the launch of the long awaited National Pensions Framework, by Minister Hanafin today at Government Buildings, Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) welcomed the Framework Launch but expressed her concern over the increase in the minimum age for the non-contributory State pension.

“The Parliament has always been of the view that any increase in the age of retirement should be voluntary with choices available to the person based on what is best for them.”  While we support the option to allow people to continue working longer, the mandatory age increase may not fully take the individual health and well-being of Older People into consideration.

There appears to be no ongoing commitment to move beyond the 35% of gross Average Industrial Earnings which the Framework has set out and the ISCP will work to increase this figure over time.

We welcome the introduction of Credits for Homemakers from 2012 which will replace disregards retrospective to 1994. This will benefit many women. However there are many women who were in caring and homemaker roles prior to that time. Many of them are   also affected by the marriage bar and we would urge the Minister to re-examine these issues.

We welcome the concept of the introduction of the auto-enrolment scheme. We will be closely watching how it evolves. We were in favour of a system which would be State run.

“We invite public participation in this debate – come to www.seniors.ie and let us know what you think”, concluded Ms Hayes.

ENDS


Recommendations on Pension Reform from the ISCP (1 Page)
Recommendations on Pension Reform from the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament

1. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is calling for a new pension system that guarantees an income adequate to meet all the needs of pensioners. Respect for Older People and a commitment to maintaining independence in old age would underpin this system. In this system a pension would be an income replacement not a minimum anti-poverty measure. An adequate pension would lead to a number of gains for society, not least social inclusion and a positive ageing experience for all (O’Shea in O’Dell, 2006). A system underwritten by these principles would be progressive and sustainable.

2. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament proposes a new pension system where  mandatory contributions are made to a State run scheme which guarantees a pension of 50% of Gross Average Industrial Earnings on retirement.

3. Mandatory occupational pensions should be offered to all staff. Staff should not be allowed to opt out as most of our members state that where they have a GOOD PENSION it is because they had to pay for it.

4. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for reforms that would enable all Older People who need it to qualify for the State non-contributory pension.

5. The benchmark system to be applied should be the best that is on offer.

6. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for the Homemakers’ Scheme to be backdated to allow Older Women to receive a full pension in their own right

7. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for women with inadequate contribution records to be provided with a pension in recognition of their contribution to the economy and society.

8. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls for a total contributions approach to qualifying for a pension because every contribution made can be used to fund pensions and should be redeemable regardless of when or how the contribution was made.

9. In the context of class D and dependent adult allowances, we suggest that the agreement for some farmer/self-employed spouses may provide a solution to deal with them. The SCOPE model agreed under the “Towards 2016” Social Partnership Agreement by the IFA, DSFA and Revenue surely provides an innovative blueprint for the resolution of other anomalies.

10. We recommend that the pension be paid at 65 and the Transition pension be abolished.

11. This allowance should be increased annually in line with inflation.

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