Posts Tagged ‘european elections’

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Dublin European Election Meeting – 21 May 2009 afternoon

June 3, 2009

The second of the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Dublin meetings with European Election candidates took place on the afternoon of 21 May 2009 in EPIC in the European Parliament office in Molesworth Street. The afternoon meeting was attended by four European Candidates: Deirdre de Búrca (Green Party), Proinsias de Rossa (Labour), Caroline Simons (Libertas), and Eibhlín Byrne, Lord Mayor of Dublin (Fianna Fáil).

Dublin Euros

Deirdre de Búrca spoke about intergenerational solidarity, the Lisbon Strategy, the needs of older people, neutrality & retaining a commissioner. She stressed the importance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights stating that it a very important guiding document & that Article 21 bans discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of age.

DdeB PdeRPrionsias de Rossa MEP spoke about the social, economic and environmental crises all coming together and the need to deal with them all together. Asking what Europe can do to help, he said that the EU had put together a “Recovery Programme” worth €30 billion using the European Investment Bank. Matching funds have to be found on the Irish side – the Government has failed to ensure that this happens. He supports the Lisbon Treaty, stating that it provides for greater democracy, and legally binds the charter for human rights. “There is nothing un-democratic about voting again: we re-eleSylvia Carolinect our public representatives.”

Caroline Simons spoke about some of the issues affecting older people such as the reduction in pensions & savings in the form of shares, the loss of Medical Cards and the Hanley report closing local hospitals. She opposed the practice of moving the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg regularly. She was happy with the result of the Lisbon Referendum & that there should not be a second vote – “No means No”. She stressed the value of volunteerism & carers. She said that she thought “Prionsias was in Europe too long”.

Eibhlín Byrne started by saying she did not think “Prionsias was in Europe too long”. She had been chair of the Council for Ageing and Older People, which has produced some very good research. She spoke about issues affecting older people, saying that in her time on Dublin City Council, she has tried to ensure theEibhlin Prionsias Sylviase issues are heard. She initiated a review of older people living in bed sits in Dublin and has tried to improve the heating of people’s homes. She believes we do need to re-visit the Lisbon Treaty decision.

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included:

  • Should the Lisbon Treaty referendum be re-run?
  • The use of social exclusion as a weapon against older people. It is on the increase with information technology excluding us, for example many people will now be excluded from traveling due to online check-in systems.
  • The responsibility of the European Parliament for this recession: why did they not monitor what was going on? What was the role of the Court of Auditors in all this?
  • More communication is required between Europe and Ireland e.g. a newsletter left in our libraries to let us know what is happening. The challenge is to tell people about European directives etc. in an interesting manner.
  • Was the comment about “Prionsias being in Europe too long” ageist?
  • Lack of social housing in some city centre areas.
  • The importance of Pensions older people – €300 a week now seems to be a long way away.
  • Loneliness is a problem for pensioners: this can be alleviated with a decent income as they could go to the pub or to the cinema and socialize.

Dublin Euros

The meetings were chaired by Sylvia Meehan President of the ISCP. Also in attendance were Máiréad Hayes, CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, Policy Officer of the ISCP, along with representatives of the Parliament’s member organisations.

Another four Euro candidates had attended the ISCP morning meeting. Apologies were received from Eoin Ryan MEP. The meeting was preceded by a small silent protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann as part of its ongoing campaign to reverse the Christmas cutback to pensions

The day closed with a vote of thanks to all the candidates from the President of the ISCP Sylvia Meehan. She said that the ISCP is a non-party political organisation and hoped everyone would use their vote as they saw fit.

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Dublin European Election Meeting – 21 May 2009

June 2, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament organised 2 meetings with European Election candidates from the Dublin Euro Constituency to facilitate both older people & the candidates. The meetings took place on 21 May 2009 in EPIC in the European Parliament office in Molesworth Street.

The morning meeting was attended by four European Candidates: Joe Higgins (Socialist Party), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael), Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein) and Patricia McKenna (Independent).

Sylvia Patricia Joe

Joe Higgins spoke about how the living standards of people, especially the unemployed & older people, are being driven down. He also spoke about ruthless capitalism & the inevitable economic crash. He warned that the cuts in medical cards & the non-payment of the additional Christmas payment were only the start. He predicted another campaign would be needed in the autumn.

Gay Mitchell MEP spoke about the importance of the European project – especially Peace and Stability. He said that as Europe’s population is aging, a very real problem for the future is how we will pay pensions. He stressed the importance of rights and responsibilities and said that there are no easy answers to the current problems; difficult decisions have to be made. He concluded by saying that his work on the Parliament’s Development Committee and on its Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee was helping reduce the number of starving children in the world.

Gay, Mairead Mary Lou Sylvia

Mary Lou McDonald MEP complimented the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament and those present on the fight back on the medical cards, especially the intergenerational nature of the protest with students and older people making their voices heard on the same day. She spoke about cutbacks in the home help service, lack of finance for home adaptations & said that older people are being asked to carry the burden. She said she was against the Lisbon Treaty and opposed the privatisation of services and cuts in workers’ rights. She said that there is no pension fund guarantee here as there is in the UK and noted the effect this had had on the Waterford Crystal workers.

Patricia McKenna spoke about discrimination & workers rights, stating that in the present EU, the market often comes before workers’ rights. She stated that medical cards and the Christmas cutback hit the “softest targets”. She said that the issue of long term care has never been addressed and that developers have been using nursing homes as a profit driven opportunity, while older people tend to want long term care at home. Europe’s population is aging and their needs should be funded.

Dublin Euros

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included:

  • The state pension is currently 32.5% of the average working wages as opposed to the European average of 60%
  • Ireland’s natural resources are not being utilised properly for the good of the people.
  • The issue of the banks: how to get them lending again?
  • Health care issues such as the problems with A&E services, people being left on trolleys & Universal Health Care.
  • The Lisbon Treaty – should we have another referendum?
  • The cuts to Social welfare and pensions including the additional payment at Christmas.

The meetings were chaired by Sylvia Meehan President of the ISCP. Also in attendance were Máiréad Hayes, CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, Policy Officer of the ISCP, along with representatives of the Parliament’s member organisations.

After the meeting, the ISCP held a small silent protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann as part of its ongoing campaign to reverse the Christmas cutback to pensioners. Four other Euro candidates attended the ISCP afternoon meeting.

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Limerick European and Local Election Meeting – 19 May 2009

June 1, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Limerick meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 19 May 2009 in the Best Western Pery’s Hotel. Candidates from the South Euro Constituency and Limerick local electoral areas were invited.
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The meeting was attended by three European Candidates, Kathy Sinnott MEP (Independent), Senator Dan Boyle (Green Party), and Dr. Alexander Stafford (Independent).

The day began with a presentation on Elder Abuse by Julie Linwood, Senior Case Worker (Elder Abuse) in with the HSE in Limerick. The presentation covered all aspects of Elder Abuse using recent research on the topic and explained Elder Abuse and what it means to the average older person. This presentation focused on several headings including;

  • What is Elder Abuse?
  • Incidence?
  • Types of Elder Abuse?
  • How to recognise if Abuse could be occurring?
  • How might you learn about Abuse?
  • Where can you advise people to turn to?
  • Barriers to helping?

Julie’s presentation was followed by a very interesting Q&A session with many contributions from those present.

Kathy Sinnott MEP spoke about the demographics pointing to the increasing number of older people in Europe, with Ireland as the exception. She also spoke about healthy aging as well as the wisdom & experience of age. She emphasised her work for carers at a European level.

Senator Dan Boyle spoke about how Ireland had changed as a society, the growth of individualism & his support for community & advocacy groups.

Dr. Alexander Stafford spoke about universal health access, hospital waiting lists and the importance of pro bono & community work.

Questions to the candidates focussed on universal health care, the withdrawal of the medical card, proper pension provision and protection for private pensions.
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The meeting was later joined by 5 local candidates, Derek Mulcahy (Labour), Cathal McCarthy (Independent), Tom Shortt (Labour), Elena Secas (Labour) and James Nix (Green Party).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included: medical cards, a Senior Citizens Forum, poor public transport, intergenerational living, mental health, the role of community centres & groups as well as anti-social behaviour.

The meeting was chaired by Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO. It was attended by representatives from local Probus and Active Retirement groups as well as Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer.
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Apologies were received from Colm Burke MEP, Brian Crowley MEP, Seán Kelly, Ned O’Keeffe TD, Senator Alan Kelly and Cllr. Toiréasa Ferris.

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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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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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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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