Posts Tagged ‘Fergus Finlay’

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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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Fergus Finlay at the Annual Parliament Meeting 2009

May 4, 2009

Fergus Finlay at the ISCPMaking all our Voices heard

Remarks by Fergus Finlay, CEO, Barnardos

At the Senior Citizens Parliament

Dublin, 17th April 2009

It was our former Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, who famously urged us to party on as if there were no tomorrow. And for many years it seemed, despite all sorts of warning signs, that the party would never end. Well, I think we all have to accept that the party’s over, at least for now.

And the choice we now have to make is the same as the guests at any party where the hosts have encouraged over-indulgence. Do we give in to the hang-over, take to the bed and feel sorry for ourselves? Or do we decide that this is the time when we look after each other, and recover some of the things that we might have lost during the period when we were all being told that there was no need to worry about tomorrow?

If I could put that another way: we’re in a period of transition now. We need, all of us, to be heard in a demand that that transition be accomplished in a spirit of social justice and solidarity, and not by forcing the weakest and most vulnerable to carry the burden of adjustment. I believe we should be heard together.

I met a businessman about a year ago, who told me that the greatest tragedy would be if the only legacy of the celtic tiger was a very large fleet of second-hand luxury cars. It’s beginning to look that way, isn’t it? With jobs being lost at the rate of hundreds a day, factory closures no longer making the news unless they’re big ones, banks teetering on the brink of extinction, and the public finances apparently going to hell at a rate of knots, there is cause to be afraid.

But the celtic tiger always had two sides to it – a snarl as well as a smile. That’s because of the choices we made throughout that entire period.

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