Archive for October, 2013

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ARA Glanmire and Districts Protest March Cork Tuesday 5th November 2013

October 30, 2013

GLANMIRE ACTIVE RETIREMENT are organising this PROTEST MARCH ON 5TH NOVEMBER 2013 IN CORK CITY 

AGAINST ALL CUTS TO YOUNG AND OLD IN BUDGET 2014 

The assembly point is the Cork Opera House at 12.30pm. The March route is as follows;

Opera House Quay, Patrick Street, Grand Parade, South Mall finishing at City Hall.

Contact details;

Tom Byrne            021 4822136, 085 1145045

We urge all who are concerned about BUDGET 2014 to support this March.

Please contact the organiser DIRECT AT THE ABOVE NUMBER regarding any queries.

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Contact your TD about the Social Protection Bill

October 24, 2013

Today Thursday and tomorrow Friday the Social Welfare Bill will be discussed in the DAIL. It is important that all aspects of its contents are discussed and debated so that we all have a record of why people voted for and against the proposals.  

Because the Budget is much earlier this year there is time to discuss and debate it’s content. It’s not like a December Budget where there is an urgency to bring forward measures before a January deadline 2014. 

We have written to the chief whip and the whips of all parties and groupings asking that sufficient time be allocated for a proper debate on each of the issues to be decided.  These measures will affect the lives of Older and Younger people for a long time to come and those voting do require adequate time to consider what they are doing.  

 

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Thanks to all who supported our Protest

October 22, 2013

Thank you so much to all who supported our Protest today. You were all truly magnificent.

We need now to keep up the pressure on those who while will have to vote in these measures.

It  is important that you all continue to be active and make your voices heard.

 

    

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JOIN SENIOR CITIZENS PARLIAMENT PROTEST RALLY TOMORROW AT 1.15

October 21, 2013

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament urges all older, younger and people across the lifecycle to join us tomorrow at 1.15pm outside Dáil Éireann.  Make a special effort to be there alone or with friends and family. Together we can make things happen, apart we will stand divided. Let’s show that the poor, the sick, the old, the young, the frail and disabled can stand up and be counted.

People from all across the country tell us they are travelling in numbers. Hopefully that is true but to make sure you will need to be there too. Don’t leave it to someone else.

 Following the publication of the National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS) in April 2013, older people were expecting to see in BUDGET 2014 some tangible examples of the government commitment to NPAS.  Remember NPAS is about ageing from the cradle to the grave.

 Make an effort, be there in Molesworth Street tomorrow at 1.15 and show you care.  

@seniorsparl

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PROTEST RALLY BY SENIOR CITIZENS AND ALL SUPPORTERS

October 17, 2013
IRISH SENIOR CITIZENS PARLIAMENT
PROTEST RALLY
Against Attacks on Senior Citizens in Budget 2014
 TUESDAY  22ND OCTOBER 2013 
 
 (5th Anniversary of 2008 Protest)
 
Assembling 1.00pm to 1.15pm
DÁIL ÉIREANN
MOLESWORTH STREET, DUBLIN 2
PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN COLOURFUL AND IMAGINATIVE BANNERS AND PLACARDS 
THEY WERE ALL GREAT LAST TIME OUT!!
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WHERE HAS THE GOVERNMENT COMMITMENT TO A NATIONAL POSITIVE AGEING STRATEGY GONE

October 15, 2013

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament poses the question

Where has the Coalition’s National Positive Ageing Strategy Gone?

Speaking today in Dublin, Mairead Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament asked

“Where have the promises and the actions to underpin this government’s National Positive Ageing Strategy gone?

Remember the slogan in April 2013 at the launch.

POSITIVE AGEING- STARTS NOW

Continuing she said “We in the ISCP embraced the fact that the strategy was aimed not just at older people but at how we care for all the people across the lifecycle”. In Budget 2014 we see no evidence that the government accepts its own strategy. The people who need care and need to be enabled and assisted to care for themselves and others were on the receiving end of the toughest measures in Budget 2014.

Continuing she said “we call on government to re-examine these proposed measures”

The sick, the frail, the poor and older people who fit all of these descriptions have had prescription charges increased from €1.50 per item to €2.50 which is a 500% increase since the Minister was appointed. In May 2011 the charge was€0.50 per item and the Minister said he would abolish it. This charge applies to all those who have a medical card.

Government announced they are going to take the Over 70s medical cards from a further 35,000 older people by changes to the eligibility criteria. Last year they took cards from 30,000 older people.

The decision by the Minister for Social Protection to abolish the bereavement grant is a further major blow to older people who have saved for their burials but would have factored in this grant. Death of a loved one is very distressing and for the costs involved we ask the minister to reconsider this measure.

The abolition of the telephone allowance might seem slight in monetary terms however many of the security and monitoring devices which older people have installed  in their homes rely on landlines especially in areas where broad band coverage is poor. Replacements or changes to these systems would be costly and the supply has been affected by severe cuts to the community groups who supply them.

We urge government to reconsider their older, sicker and poorer people of all ages and to reconsider the implementation of these measures.

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Stop the Austerity

October 11, 2013

IRISH SENIOR Citizens  Pre-Budget Submission

Budget 2014 must have a strong message of HOPE. It must be FAIR to ALL across the lifecycle and must not seek to ignite fires between the generations. Citizens young and old are suffering from AUSTERITY FATIGUE.

We welcome the fact that the State Pension has been maintained at the same rate even though the purchasing power and value have been eroded by the imposition of taxes and charges. The myth that older people have not been affected by the recession and the austerity measures is just that  – A MYTH.

What the ISCP wants to Stay the Same?

v    The State Pension (contributory and non-contributory) to be retained at their current rate.

v    Reversal of the Abolition of the Transition Pension.

v    The Travel Pass to be retained.

v    The Living Alone & Over 80 Allowances to be increased.

What needs to Improve 

Household Benefits Package

The package should revert to one that is unit based so that the value to the older person whether rural or urban will be the same. This was the original objective of the package to provide light, heat and a channel of communication to older people will continue. We  are concerned that in some cases, cash, may add to the risk of financial abuse of older people. Budget 2013 changes resulted in the creation of a rural urban divide as the cost to rural dwellers was €8 dearer. A solution must be found to enable the State to tender for the supply of these utilities at a reasonable price.

People Who Live Alone

Day to day living is difficult for all but it is especially so for those older people who live alone and also for the older old. Those in the older old category tell us that they find it difficult to survive. Their savings are gone. New government and pre-existing charges are based on a “per household “basis. So no account is taken of  Household composition. Examples are the  Local Property Tax (LPT), Prescription Charges (PCS) and the HSE Drugs Refund Scheme. The Prescription Charges limit is €19.50 per household per month. The HSE Drug Refund Scheme limit is €144 per household per month. A charge of up to €5 per week can result for a medical card holder or €38 per week for those with out a medical card.   

We seek a 50% reduction in the limits for all three categories above in respect of people living alone.  

Age & Living Alone Allowance

We are seeking an increase of €5 per week in the Over 80 Allowance and an increase of €8 in the Living Alone Allowance.   

Fuel Allowance

We seek the restoration of 3 weeks of the original 6 weeks which were cut in 2011 as well as a promise to make a payment when the temperature drops below a certain agreed level. We are pleased to acknowledge that the Minister made an additional payment in 2013.   

Carbon Tax

In May 2013 this tax was extended to solid fuel such as coal and turf when a rate of €10 per tonne was applied. From May 2014 a further €10 will apply to bring the rate to €20 per tonne.  The combined effect of the reductions in the Fuel Allowance and the Carbon Tax together with the fact that many older people live in poorly insulated houses is impacting on them very badly.  Money must be used to retrofit these homes. 

Universal Social Charge

Our Annual Parliament Meeting 2013 passed a motion asking the Minister for Finance to increase the rate by 3% for those with incomes over €100,000 per year.

Local Property Tax :

This was the number one item of concern and anger in our consultations with members. Timing may have been a factor. Most told us they paid it reluctantly and they do not know how they will pay for the full year in 2014. We are seeking a percentage reduction for those who live alone and also for older couples living in older poorly insulated houses on low incomes. People will not seek a deferral as they do not want to leave a debt after death. There is concern also about the Local Authority Discretion. We call on the Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government to re-consider the question of the discretion allowed to local authorities  regarding the 18% rate and the “local decision factor”  which allows them to vary the rate by up to +/- 15% from 2015.   

Water Charges:

We are disappointed at the lack of consultation to date concerning this proposed charge. It must be fair and  based on usage with a specified allowance per household and due regard  taken of the composition of households as well as any specific age related issues which increase water usage.

PRSI: We support the extension of PRSI to the self employed. A system which ensures that all citizens are insured to a basic level is by far the fairest. It also forces people to begin to make provision for themselves and their families which is underpinned by the State.  

Travel Pass  

The TravelPass is greatly valued by older people. It is a major factor in allowing them to actively participate in their local communities and also to assist family and friends in caring and other activities. The ISCP will assist in any initiatives to prevent misuse of the Pass.  It must be retained 

Stamp Duty Levy on Pensions

We urge the Minister for Finance to honour his promise that this charge will cease in 2014. That any  surpluses be applied to reduce the levy amount. We seek the repeal of the legislation. 

Older Jobseekers:

Those aged over 60 tell us that they cannot find paid work and are experiencing real hardship. Many expected to get the Transition Pension at 65 but this is now abolished. We are making a special plea for an increase for those aged 60-66 years with a special emphasis on those aged 65.      

PENSIONS & Pension Policy 

We support the view that the State Pension should be the basic tenet for any new scheme and that it should be mandatory with a facility for top ups throughout the working life. We also call for a Right of Audience for Pensioners in all forums where matters affecting their pension payments are discussed.

Department of Health:

Health continues to be an area of major concern to Older People. Many had high hopes that the promises would be delivered on. Minister for Health, James Reilly T.D. continues to re-iterate his commitment to deliver a universal single tier health service in the future.  We support the launch of Healthy Ireland and note the Minister’s commitment to Prevention. However Older People will continue to get sick and to need a full range on medical interventions. So what Older people want is treatment now for the ailments they have so lets get to it.   

National Positive Ageing Strategy  

We welcome the publication of the Strategy by Minister Lynch and look forward to the publication of the Implementation Plan. It  will be a true measure of the Government’s commitment to Older People. 

Nursing Home Support Scheme:

Budget 2013 with effect from July 2013 increased the cost to participants in the Scheme from 15% to 21.5% -an increase of 50%. There continues to be delays in the system of approval and placement which is causing hardship.    

Private Health Insurance :

The chaotic situation in our hospitals is forcing many older people to struggle to retain private cover. They are seeking the intervention of the Minister to seek to simplify the range and pricing of plans.   

Regulation of Community Care :

Clear standards must be developed and enforced to ensure all care setting for older people are measured and inspected.

 Security for Older People

We welcome the fact that there will be Garda recruitment in 2014. Security and fear of attack are a major source of concern to older people.

Rural Transport

A holistic approach must be taken to the provision of local transport services which meet the needs and suit the lived lives of older people and others across the lifecycle. Local Authorities must ensure that the routes suit the users and are not  based on county boundaries.  

Medical Cards   

The manner and vigour with which some older people tell us they are being pursued in respect of medical card reviews is truly frightening. The loss of a card is catastrophic as it is an entrée to many services which would not otherwise be available.          

Communications 

We welcome the promise by the Minister that the Free TV licence will continue for Older People.  Paperless Billing as many service providers are trying to stealth to move all customers to paperless billing we urge the Minister to introduce legislation which is fair to all to deal with the issues involved.

Insulation:  Owner occupiers on low income cannot afford the upfront costs to upgrade their houses. We urge the Minister to address this matter with urgency in this Budget.  

 

Every effort is made to ensure that all information in this Pre-Budget Submission is correct at time of going to press. The ISCP cannot accept responsibility for errors.