Posts Tagged ‘Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’

h1

“On the last day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 8, 2009

Budget minus 1 – Tuesday 8 December

“On the last day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

€10 increase in pension

Dear Brian,

The vision in the current social partnership agreement “Towards 2016” is that “Every older person would have access to an income which is sufficient to sustain an acceptable standard of living.”

Over 50% of Older People in Ireland are dependent on the state pension as their main source of income. The European Pensions Barometer Report has highlighted that Ireland has the second worst state pension in the EU, coming only ahead of the UK. The report indicated that our pension equals 32.5% of the average working wage, while the average across Europe is 60%.

We recognise that times are hard and that the government faces difficult decisions ahead of the budget. But older people have worked hard all their lives and have paid taxes & are entitled to an adequate standard of living in their old age.

The McCarthy Report recommends that Social Welfare Rates should be decreased by 5%, due the reduction in the consumer price index. But the goods and services that have fallen are not the ones purchased by Older People – the cost of living for Older People has not been reduced.

We therefore call on the government to increase the pension by €10 per week. The withdrawal of the additional week’s payment in December has resulted in a 2% decrease in the average pension in 2009.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

h1

“On the sixth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 3, 2009

Budget minus 6 – Thursday 3 December

“On the sixth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Keep the Travel Pass

Dear Brian,

It is essential that the Free Travel Scheme remains in place for all Older People!

The free travel scheme is a major enabling factor in allowing the social participation of Older People in their communities. Social participation is extremely important in tackling loneliness and isolation amongst Older People. Not only does this scheme enable Older People to take part in social and civic life, it also provides them with access to essential services such as hospitals etc.

Many Older People find themselves isolated due to increasing frailty or because of high costs many of them have stopped driving. The number of people holding a full driver’s licence decreases with age; in 2006 only 44.5% of men over 80 and a mere 12.8% of women over 80 had a driver’s licence. Therefore public transport is an essential service for the many people unable to drive themselves. (CSO, 2007)

Taxi fares for a pensioner for medical visits can represent as much as 1/4 of their weekly pension. Recommendations included in the “Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditures Programmes” to reduce the costs in HSE funded non-emergency transport services by 20% would result in this service being cut by 1/5 on the ground. This would only serve to worsen the situation for many vulnerable and sick Older People.

Yours sincerely
Ireland’s Older People

h1

“On the seventh day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 2, 2009

Budget minus 7 – Wednesday 2 December

“On the seventh day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Re-instate the pensioners Christmas payment

Dear Brian,

We strongly urge you to reconsider the withdrawal of the extra week’s payment for pensioners.

This payment provided many vulnerable Older People with additional income to help with the cost of heating and fuel bills during the long winter period.

Older People have become dependent on this extra payment in the dead of winter to help with their fuel, heating and lighting bills. The Central Statistics Office has found that since August 2008 the cost of natural gas has increased by 6.5%, bottled gas has risen by 6.6% and solid fuel by 6.3%. If the proposed carbon tax is introduced in this year’s budget we know that these prices will be further increased.

Hypothermia is a major difficulty for many Older People and causes a number of deaths each year.

We know that almost 10% of pensioner households experience fuel poverty in the winter months. This is an unnecessary type of poverty in today’s society; no person should be forced to endure an Irish winter without adequate heat.

While this payment is termed a “Bonus” the fact is that Older People are reliant on this additional payment to help defray these additional winter costs.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

h1

Taoiseach’s understanding of state pension appreciated

November 24, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament appreciated Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s understanding of the difficulties facing older people in his statement of November 18 on the importance of the State Pension and the other support schemes for older people such as the travel, TV licence and telephone allowance.

We in particular noted where Taoiseach Cowen stated that “we should also be mindful that there is a large amount of people who don’t have a lot of disposable income … and, therefore, rely solely on the state pension”. He also went on to say that he was “proud of the provision we made for pensioners during the good years. It is not my objective to undo all of that good work now”.

The ISCP were pleased to note An Taoiseach’s assurances that there will be no dismantling of the social infrastructure, including various schemes which are in place to support Older People’s health & welfare, in addition to pensions. “An Taoiseach’s remarks – in particular the further remarks on his webcast – demonstrate an understanding of the various schemes and services, put in place over decades, which protect Older People’s dignity such as the travel and fuel schemes.

Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO stated: “We are conscious that we face a difficult situation but it should be appreciated that we in the Parliament hear on a daily basis from Older People living in fear of what is to come.” We will hold An Taoiseach to his promise not to ‘undo the good work’ and to be ‘sensitive to the needs of our pensioners’.

“We would also like to say ‘thank you’ to all our member organisations regarding their lobbying efforts to defend their services & pensions. Keep up the good work in the couple of weeks remaining before Budget 2010”, exhorted Ms. Hayes.

 

h1

Proposed Medical Card Charges Will Hit The Most Vulnerable!

November 22, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament is concerned that the proposed prescription charge will place an increased financial burden on Older People.

Responding to the comments made by Minister for Health Mary Harney, Maíréad Hayes CEO of the Parliament has said that the proposed 50 cent charge per prescribed item could result in a hefty monthly charge for some Older People.

The Minister’s response is not a remedy for the over-prescribing of drugs that can only be resolved by those responsible for writing prescriptions.

We know that one in six medical card holders are prescribed 10 or more drugs, should this charge be introduced many Older People could face an additional charge of €5 or more per month.

Combined with the fact that Older People’s incomes have already been reduced by 2% this year due to the withdrawal of the Christmas Bonus, the Parliament fears that Older People will find it hard to meet these charges, or may be forced to stop taking their medication.

The Parliament would point out that there is a cumulative impact from a number of recent government decisions all of which are increasing the risk of poverty amongst Older People in Ireland.

h1

Is the “Fair Deal” fair?

November 19, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament calls on the Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney T.D. to immediately clarify the report in today’s Irish Independent regarding the cost to older people for Long Stay Charges in Public Facilities.

We have maintained for some time that the Fair Deal was not fair as basic items which we consider as essential for the care and comfort of Older People are excluded from the Scheme. Of particular concern is the fact that the price negotiated by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) on behalf of the Minister for Health & Children does not include incontinence pads and normal services such as chiropody, dental treatment, therapies and other items essential for the care and comfort of Older People.

Now we ask the Minister to tell us what the differences are between private and public. Will additional care be provided in public facilities and how is the price justified?

Speaking today Mairead Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament said

“Will these charges push Older People and their families into choosing Private rather than Public facilities?”

This scheme was meant to provide people with a choice between public and private facilities, so that they would no longer be pushed in any direction. However given the huge variation in price it now looks like many Older People will not have a choice and will be forced into choosing private facilities.

We must continue the debate on a universal heath care system that would bring equity to all.

 

h1

ISCP in the Day of Protest 2009

November 19, 2009

ISCP inSpired

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament took a proud part in Dublin’s Day of Protest (November 6) as part of the “Get Up, Stand Up” campaign.

Many of our volunteers came out to lend their support to the campaign which aims to protect jobs and pensions as well as vulnerable people and vital services.

Flag carriersHere are a few pictures from the March in Dublin.

If you have any comments on the campaign or pictures from the other marches around the country, leave a comment in the box below or e-mail us and we will try to add them to our news here.

Intergenerational Solidarity

Older solidarity

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers