Archive for June, 2010


Older Lifelong Learners bring Mental Capital to Society

June 30, 2010

Ena O’Mahoney, Vice-President of the Irish Senior Citizen’s Parliament spoke yesterday at the seminar, ‘Enriching the College Community with Older Lifelong Learners’ in Trinity College. She told her audience of the wealth of ‘mental capital’ accrued by older people in this country and how, if utilised, it could benefit the whole of society.

Vice-President: Ena O'Mahoney

The seminar highlighted the fact that education is a lifelong activity and showed that older learners attending college are as committed to learning as their younger colleagues

Ms O’Mahoney particularly stressed the role that lifelong learning can play in combating social exclusion and loneliness, pointing out that for those who pursued further education as older students:

“There is the chance to enjoy a new sense of community with people who share their interests and passions, providing opportunities for socialising and progression routes to whole new worlds of experience, effectively counteracting what can be a period in life when social contacts decline.”

The ISCP warmly welcomes this initiative taken by Trinity College.

The Parliament also welcomes the presence of Minister for State, Seán Haughey at the seminar as a demonstration of the government’s support to the commitments made in the Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016, to maximise adult and community educational opportunities for older people. In particular the Parliament agreed with his statement that ‘Education should also be a means of ensuring greater social contact, exchange of ideas and mutual respect between the generations.’

TCD Vice-Provost/ Chief Academic Officer Prof Patrick Prendergast; Vice President of Irish Senior Citizens Parliament Ena O'Mahoney; Age Action Ireland representative Senator David Norris; Psychology Student Philip Martin Murray; Minister of State with Responsibility for Lifelong Learning Sean Haughey; Lecturer in Adult Nursing Jacinta Kelly and event organiser Jennifer Ryan.


Dental Scheme Cutback – Older People MUST not be made to suffer

June 11, 2010

“The latest circular from the HSE limiting the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) will have a dramatic impact on Older People”, Ms Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament said today. “As well as the detrimental health and welfare aspects, it could result in costs to pensioners of between €230 and €400 per year according to figures from the Irish Dental Association.”

The DTSS provides medical card holders with basic dental treatment and ensures that medical card holders receive pain relief, preventative treatment, denture services and emergency care. Budget 2010 limited DTSS expenditure to €63million at a time of rising demand. The HSE’s April circular could mean that 1.6 million medical card holders may be denied routine treatments such as fillings and extractions.

The Department of Health’s own figures show that people over 65 are by far the biggest users of the DTSS and will therefore be the hardest hit by this latest cutback. Almost €12 million (25.5%) of total payments for treatments was for those aged 65 or over; even though only 14% of this age group used the DTSS in 2003 (the latest figures publicly available).

“The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament welcomes the trend in the general population of better and increased teeth retention for Older People, but they are still the age cohort with the most missing teeth and therefore require the most dentures and denture repairs”, said Ms. Hayes. “This cutback again hits the most vulnerable. Older People are entitled to receive dental treatment which ensures they can live free from oral pain, with the ability to eat good food and speak and even sing a song or two. Cuts in this basic service just do not make financial sense as regular dental treatment is most important in older age and can be a further useful monitoring tool in the healthy living which keeps all older people healthy and active. Delayed early treatment may require more expensive treatment later.”

Taking the average of €230 and €400 it appears that older people will have to provide an extra €330 per year for dental treatment to add to the additional costs of the carbon tax, the introduction of prescription charges and a decrease or abolition in waivers for waste charges as well as VAT on local authority charges to name but a few.

The Minister must act now to stop the slow drip of the removal of the universal benefits of the medical card to Older People. Many of today’s pensioners endured poor conditions in their youth with poor food and little or no dental care. In older age they must not be deprived again.


Sylvia Meehan receives Lord Mayor’s Award

June 9, 2010

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, hosted the 2010 Lord Mayor’s Awards in the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dawson Street, on Wednesday 19th May.

Since its inauguration in 1989 these awards honour individuals and groups who have made a special contribution to Dublin and its citizens. The awards are an annual event and are Dublin City’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to people who make a difference.

Sylvia Meehan, Lord Mayor Emer Costello, Joe Costello TD

This years recipients were:

  • Jimmy Magee
  • Sylvia Meehan
  • Paddy Doyle
  • Janette Byrne
  • Brother Kevin Crowley on behalf of the Capuchin Day Centre
  • Paul Dolan on behalf of the East Wall Water Sports Group

Sylvia Meehan & Máiréad Hayes

Sylvia Meehan, former President of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, received an award for her campaigning work for women’s rights and her lifetime work as an advocate for older people and her work with the Senior Citizens Parliament. The award recognized Sylvia’s lifelong pursuit of equality for women and for empowering older people.


Minister for Protection creating Social Insecurity

June 3, 2010

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.