Posts Tagged ‘Dublin’

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Dublin European Election Meeting – 21 May 2009

June 2, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament organised 2 meetings with European Election candidates from the Dublin Euro Constituency to facilitate both older people & the candidates. The meetings took place on 21 May 2009 in EPIC in the European Parliament office in Molesworth Street.

The morning meeting was attended by four European Candidates: Joe Higgins (Socialist Party), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael), Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein) and Patricia McKenna (Independent).

Sylvia Patricia Joe

Joe Higgins spoke about how the living standards of people, especially the unemployed & older people, are being driven down. He also spoke about ruthless capitalism & the inevitable economic crash. He warned that the cuts in medical cards & the non-payment of the additional Christmas payment were only the start. He predicted another campaign would be needed in the autumn.

Gay Mitchell MEP spoke about the importance of the European project – especially Peace and Stability. He said that as Europe’s population is aging, a very real problem for the future is how we will pay pensions. He stressed the importance of rights and responsibilities and said that there are no easy answers to the current problems; difficult decisions have to be made. He concluded by saying that his work on the Parliament’s Development Committee and on its Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee was helping reduce the number of starving children in the world.

Gay, Mairead Mary Lou Sylvia

Mary Lou McDonald MEP complimented the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament and those present on the fight back on the medical cards, especially the intergenerational nature of the protest with students and older people making their voices heard on the same day. She spoke about cutbacks in the home help service, lack of finance for home adaptations & said that older people are being asked to carry the burden. She said she was against the Lisbon Treaty and opposed the privatisation of services and cuts in workers’ rights. She said that there is no pension fund guarantee here as there is in the UK and noted the effect this had had on the Waterford Crystal workers.

Patricia McKenna spoke about discrimination & workers rights, stating that in the present EU, the market often comes before workers’ rights. She stated that medical cards and the Christmas cutback hit the “softest targets”. She said that the issue of long term care has never been addressed and that developers have been using nursing homes as a profit driven opportunity, while older people tend to want long term care at home. Europe’s population is aging and their needs should be funded.

Dublin Euros

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included:

  • The state pension is currently 32.5% of the average working wages as opposed to the European average of 60%
  • Ireland’s natural resources are not being utilised properly for the good of the people.
  • The issue of the banks: how to get them lending again?
  • Health care issues such as the problems with A&E services, people being left on trolleys & Universal Health Care.
  • The Lisbon Treaty – should we have another referendum?
  • The cuts to Social welfare and pensions including the additional payment at Christmas.

The meetings were chaired by Sylvia Meehan President of the ISCP. Also in attendance were Máiréad Hayes, CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, Policy Officer of the ISCP, along with representatives of the Parliament’s member organisations.

After the meeting, the ISCP held a small silent protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann as part of its ongoing campaign to reverse the Christmas cutback to pensioners. Four other Euro candidates attended the ISCP afternoon meeting.

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Silent support to reinstate Christmas bonus

May 22, 2009

Silent Dáil ProtestA variety of TDs, MEPs (& MEP candidates), by-election candidates and local election candidates came out to lend their support to the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament campaign to reinstate the Christmas bonus.

A small group of activists from the Parliament (some came from as far away as Westport) gathered outside Leinster House at lunchtime on Thursday 21 May 2009 to protest the savage 2% cut in the state pension to some of the most vulnerable in Irish society. It was agreed beforehand that a small silent protest would be the most appropriate way to make our feelings on this badly targetted cutback known.

Silent ProtestEvery TD had been informed & we were delighted to be joined by a number of them. Their solidarity was enhanced when we were also joined by a number of candidates for the local & European elections as well as a Dublin Central by-election candidate.

The ISCP quietly made our point – the next time we might be noisier.

What do you think?

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Silent Protest on Christmas Bonus

May 18, 2009

cnv001362The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament is organising a small Silent Protest outside Dáil Éireann on Thursday, 21st May 2009, from 1.15 – 2.20pm, as part of our campaign to have the Christmas Bonus re-instated.

The Protest will coincide with our two Meetings (morning and afternoon) in the European Parliament Office that day on the theme Communicating Europe / European Elections.

Older People have become totally dependent on this extra payment in the dead of winter to help with their fuel, heating and lighting bills.

Hypothermia is a major difficulty for Older People, causing a number of deaths each year. Whilst this payment is termed a “bonus” the fact is that Older People are reliant on this additional payment to help with these additional winter costs.

We are appealing, in particular, to our Dublin affiliates for their support for our Campaign, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in the lives of Older People.

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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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