Older People want solidarity with young
“Older People are concerned that the result of what Minister Ó Cuív is proposing may set in train a process which will pit Older People against Young People” Máiréad Hayes, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament said today. “Older People remember the solidarity and encouragement we got when the Government tried to take the over 70s Medical Cards. Older People were supported by students and by their families for which we applaud them. Now we say to the Minister for Social Protection do not use the State Pension to fund other anti-poverty measures” continued Ms Hayes. “Is the Minister seeking to divide Old and Young this year after the debacle of last year which sought to divide Public sector employees from Private sector employees?” she asked.
The issues involved are straight-forward: the Irish Social Contract entitles people who have paid for pensions to get their pension rather than live in fear that it will be taken away from them at their time of need in retirement. The proposals being attributed to the Minister would penalise the majority of Older People of whom 84% of over-65s and 89% of over-75s rely on social transfers, to save a little on the few who are outside these categories.
2010 is the “European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion” and Older People are facing a variety of challenges in their lives today –many live alone and find they are socially isolated now more so than ever before. Many others are actively supporting their families through family care and other non paid assistance.
Contrary to many reports Older People have had cuts both in 2010 and before. They lost the additional payment at Christmas, they now pay a Carbon Tax, metered water charges are being introduced, 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 a backlog in renewing medical cards and the Home Help service is under threat. We are concerned at what we perceive as an attack on Universal Payments and the entitlements of Older People.
The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls on every TD & Senator from all Parties to clarify their stance on this proposal immediately. We also call on all Irish people, young and old, to stand together to defend the Social Contract.