Archive for the ‘Over 70 medical card crisis’ Category


Older People facing serious issues

March 26, 2010

Older People are facing a variety of challenges in their lives today – now more so than ever before – according to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

Voice of the elderly2009 brought Irish people the continuing banking and credit crisis, the Nursing Home Support Scheme, the introduction of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), the “Bord Snip Nua” Report, a supplementary Budget as well as Budget 2010, the continuation of the over-70s Medical Card crisis and the withdrawal of the Additional Christmas Payment. There were further threats to cut existing and future pensions and other entitlements as well a promise of further levies.

We face in 2010 the prospect of a Carbon Tax, metered water charges, 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 the backlog in renewing medical cards. We also perceive an effort to abolish all Universal Payments and in particular to change some of the entitlements for Older People.

These and other issues will be discussed at the Annual Parliament Meeting of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament this weekend. The ISCP urges the incoming Minister for Older People to implement the vision set out in “Towards 2016” and provide the necessary supports to enable Older People to maintain their health and well-being as well as to live active and full lives in an independent way in their own homes and communities.

The 14th Annual Parliament of the ISCP will take place in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre from 2.00pm today, Friday 26 March, to 1.00pm Saturday 27 March 2010. The Annual Parliament provides the ISCP’s affiliated member organisations with an opportunity to promote the views of older people, to set policy for the Parliament and to elect officers for the coming year.

Among the issues to be discussed at the Annual Parliament will be pensions, medical cards, prescription charges, water charges and the withdrawal of the Additional payment at Christmas.


Medical card renewal problems – Change needed now

March 24, 2010

The current backlog in renewing medical cards is outrageous and causing untold difficulties to thousands of ill Older People according to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

As it is self-evident from the HSE’s own figures and statistics that the vast majority of Older People qualify for a medical card, the ISCP proposes that until such time as the difficulties being experienced in processing medical card renewals are resolved all medical cards for Older People should be extended for a period of two years with immediate effect.

By this process staff should be freed up to handle applications from those who are newly unemployed and also alleviate some of the hardship they are suffering.

Any new cards being issued should be for a three year period rather than the current two year period. We demand that the HSE immediately seek clearance from the Department of Health and Children to implement this proposal.

“The backlog in respect of the renewal of cards for people over 70 in the Finglas centre is now running into the thousands. This backlog coupled with the short renewal period is causing problems and hardship for Older People. These difficulties are further compounded by the fact that people cannot get replies to telephone queries made to the central renewal office” said the Parliament’s CEO, Máiréad Hayes.

“The practical effect of this is that Older People who are entitled to a medical card have instead to pay substantial medical fees and prescription charges. For those on continuing medication, the position has become an intolerable financial burden which is inflicting great hardship and may lead to further their health problems ” continued Ms Hayes.

“These difficulties further strengthen our view that the decision to remove the Universal right to a medical card from the over-70s was a very bad one. A long-term solution to this backlog is to restore this universal entitlement and thus protect the health of Older People” concluded Ms Hayes.



October 28, 2009

Protest 2008 crowd 1On 22nd October it will be one year since thousands of Older People from the length and breadth of Ireland protested at Dáil Éireann against the withdrawal of the medical card for the over 70s. That protest, organized by the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament, was the result of an attempt by Government to break faith with Older People on an issue which they considered to be vital to their health and wellbeing.

On that day Sylvia Meehan, President of the Parliament and recent recipient of a prestigious People of the Year award, said that “research has shown that access to the medical card has led to a decline in serious illness amongst the over 70s. It is good value for everybody. It keeps us out of expensive hospital beds.”

Today Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO stated: “In that show of strength Older People showed that they are not ready to sit quietly in the corner and await their fate. We were proud of all of them and of ourselves in that manifestation of solidarity, strength and camaraderie which was so evident that day.”

“We are conscious that we again face a difficult situation as we hear on a daily basis about the Budget which is about to be unleashed on us in December. The ground is being well prepared and, in turn, we in the Parliament hear on a daily basis from Older People living in fear of what is to come.”

Protest 2008 crowd 3The ISCP believes that Older People’s health & welfare needs to be moved to the top of the political agenda. “We expect in this Budget that the vulnerable – and especially Older People – will be protected. We have made our Pre-Budget Submission to Government and we expect them to deliver for Older People”

Continuing she said “Among the main points which we have stressed are:

  • A commitment to protect the most vulnerable;
  • An increase of €10 in the State Pension for Older People (see note below);
  • The reinstatement of the Additional Payment at Christmas for pensioners (Christmas Bonus);
  • Access to services as of right for all Older People and especially access to travel and the entitlement to the Travel Pass to continue to be available for all Older People”.

“We should judge our government by how it treats society’s most vulnerable. We hope the government demonstrates its concern by protecting Ireland’s older citizens in Budget 2010” concluded Ms. Hayes.



Galway European and Local Election Meeting – 13 May 2009

May 28, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Galway meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 13 May 2009 in the Salthill Hotel. Candidates from the North-West Euro Constituency and Galway local electoral areas were invited.
The meeting was attended by two European Candidates: Marian Harkin MEP (Independent) and Fiachra Ó Luain (Independent). Mary Thornton was also present representing Declan Ganley (Libertas).

The day began with a presentation on Elder Abuse by Susan Rodden, HSE Senior Case Worker (Elder Abuse) in Galway. The group was drawn to the fact that 85% of people who are abused are living in their own homes, 45% of abusers are family members the majority of whom are sons or daughters and in 62% of cases the Older Person is living with their abuser.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion and a question and answer session.

Marian Harkin MEP spoke about pensions (outlining her work in this area), rural transport & the removal of the Community Support Scheme.

Fiachra Ó Luain spoke about how both the younger & older generations had been “robbed by the Government”.

Mary Thornton (on behalf of Declan Ganley) spoke about medical cards, childrens’ allowances & that women should be enabled to be at home with their children.
The meeting was joined by 5 local candidates Cllr. Niall Ó Brolcháin (Green Party), Tom Hanly (Sinn Féin), AJ Cahill (Independent), Sheila Mangan (Fianna Fáil), and Cllr. Catherine Connolly (Independent).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included: the provision of community facilities & involvement, isolation of older people, water quality, the removal of the medical cards from over-70s, the removal of the Christmas bonus & widows pensions.
The Galway meeting was chaired by Evelyn Moran, Honorary Secretary of the ISCP. It was attended by a large group of representatives from local Senior Citizen groups, Active Retirement groups and volunteers from the Senior Help Line. Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer also attended.

Michael McNamara attended the meeting in Westport the next day. Apologies were received from Jim Higgins MEP, Susan O’Keefe, Pat the Cope Gallagher TD and Paschal Mooney.

Further coverage:



Medical Card Protest Rally 2008

April 9, 2009

8th December


Irish Senior Citizens Parliament


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