Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

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Budget 2010: ISCP submission

November 9, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament has made a very detailed Pre-Budget Submission to Government.

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;
  • 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 are aware that these are difficult times however we should judge society by how it treats society’s most vulnerable. We continue to urge Government to demonstrate its concern by protecting Ireland’s older citizens in Budget 2010.

The quality of Older Peoples’ lives has never been more under threat! A year ago thousands of Older People protested at Dáil Éireann against the withdrawal of the medical card for the over 70s. Show that we still have the strength & solidarity to fight for our rights by your actions.

Lobby for Older People: visit, write, phone & e-mail your local TDs & public representatives.

To view or download the full Submission in pdf form (395kB) click on this link: BUDGET_2010_SUBMISSION_BY_THE_ISCP

 

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Communicating Europe – September 2009

November 2, 2009

In September we held a series of four meetings on Communicating Europe & the Lisbon Treaty. This was in response to requests from members.

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament facilitated these meeting with Members of the European Parliament & other public representatives to inform Older People about the European Union & the Lisbon Treaty and their affect on older people.

Four meetings were held with a variety of speakers. The format was each meeting started with a “Just the Facts” presentation setting the context and history of the European Union facilitated by Andrea Pappin of the European Movement Ireland or Peadar O’Broin of the Institute of International & European Affairs. We sought a representative from the European Commission, but they were unable to facilitate our request.

This was followed by (an equal number of) speakers in favour (Y) of the Treaty & against (N) the Treaty. We had lively discussions as quite a number of older people came along both to listen and contribute.

The main speakers were:

  • Dún Laoghaire / Rathdown: Mary Hanafin TD (Y), Proinsias de Rossa MEP (Y), Eoin O’Broin (N) (in place of Mary Lou McDonald) and Tony Allwright, journalist (N). Seán Barrett TD attended and made a contribution. Frank Farrelly, ISCP Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown chaired the meeting.

DLR speakers

  • EPIC, Dublin: Gay Mitchell MEP (Y) & Patricia McKenna (N). Sylvia Meehan, President ISCP, chaired the meeting

EPIC Meeting

  • Finglas: Proinsias de Rossa MEP & Joe Higgins MEP (N). Hugh Smullen, Chair of Finglas Division ISCP, welcomed the attendees & speakers.
  • Galway: Cllr. Catherine Connolly (N) & Dr. Brendan Flynn, NUIG (Y). Evelyn Moran, ISCP Honorary Secretary & Galway Division chaired the meeting.
  • These meetings were organised in close cooperation with the local Divisions of the Parliament. Máiréad Hayes CEO and ISCP staff attended all meetings.

    Issues raised at the meetings included : healthcare, pensions, new taxes, why a second referendum, security & defence, the Citizens Initiative, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Irish guarantees, Ireland’s Commissioner, wage rates, climate change and & voting rights.

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    Annual Report 2008

    August 19, 2009

    Annual Report 2008Click on the cover of the Annual Report to download the full 26 page report (pdf format – 561 kB).

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    Senior Citizens Parliament welcomes ending of Pharmacy Dispute

    August 18, 2009

    The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament has welcomed the ending of the 11-day dispute between pharmacists and the Health Service Executive over cuts in fees for dispensing state drugs.

    Speaking following the announcement of the resumption of normal pharmacy service, Máiréad Hayes, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament stated that “the pharmacy dispute meant that older people faced the stress of additional travel and waiting times to obtain a regular supply of medicine. These vulnerable people felt caught in a crossfire between the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) on one side and the HSE and the Government on the other.”

    The ending of the dispute means an end to queuing by older people and allows those who have friends and families with them in this holiday month to enjoy it without the worry of having to travel and queue to get much needed medication.

    The ISCP recognizes that the cost of dispensing prescription drugs must be reduced and also that family pharmacies have the right to an adequate income. However older people suffered in the dispute and its ending is a victory for common sense.

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    Impact of Pharmacy Dispute on older people

    August 8, 2009

    Usually August is a HOT Month, August is a HOLIDAY Month, August is a HEALTHY Month for Older People & Their Families.

    At a specially convened meeting today Saturday 9th August the Executive of the Parliament considered the reports from around the country of the severe impact the Pharmacy Dispute was having on all older people.

    Speaking following the meeting, Máiread Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament stated that “the dispute is now seven days old and the impact on older people in some pockets of the country is severe.

    A resolution must be found and common sense and logic demands that interventions at government must be made to end the impasse.

    We are aware of a harsh winter ahead and the promise of harsh and hard measures, so let’s stop the queuing and allow those who have friends and families with them in this holiday month enjoy it without the worry of having to travel and queue to get much needed medication.

    Concluding she called on the Minister for Health and Children to start the process now.

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    Dublin European Election Meeting – 21 May 2009 afternoon

    June 3, 2009

    The second of the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Dublin meetings with European Election candidates took place on the afternoon of 21 May 2009 in EPIC in the European Parliament office in Molesworth Street. The afternoon meeting was attended by four European Candidates: Deirdre de Búrca (Green Party), Proinsias de Rossa (Labour), Caroline Simons (Libertas), and Eibhlín Byrne, Lord Mayor of Dublin (Fianna Fáil).

    Dublin Euros

    Deirdre de Búrca spoke about intergenerational solidarity, the Lisbon Strategy, the needs of older people, neutrality & retaining a commissioner. She stressed the importance of the Charter of Fundamental Rights stating that it a very important guiding document & that Article 21 bans discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of age.

    DdeB PdeRPrionsias de Rossa MEP spoke about the social, economic and environmental crises all coming together and the need to deal with them all together. Asking what Europe can do to help, he said that the EU had put together a “Recovery Programme” worth €30 billion using the European Investment Bank. Matching funds have to be found on the Irish side – the Government has failed to ensure that this happens. He supports the Lisbon Treaty, stating that it provides for greater democracy, and legally binds the charter for human rights. “There is nothing un-democratic about voting again: we re-eleSylvia Carolinect our public representatives.”

    Caroline Simons spoke about some of the issues affecting older people such as the reduction in pensions & savings in the form of shares, the loss of Medical Cards and the Hanley report closing local hospitals. She opposed the practice of moving the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg regularly. She was happy with the result of the Lisbon Referendum & that there should not be a second vote – “No means No”. She stressed the value of volunteerism & carers. She said that she thought “Prionsias was in Europe too long”.

    Eibhlín Byrne started by saying she did not think “Prionsias was in Europe too long”. She had been chair of the Council for Ageing and Older People, which has produced some very good research. She spoke about issues affecting older people, saying that in her time on Dublin City Council, she has tried to ensure theEibhlin Prionsias Sylviase issues are heard. She initiated a review of older people living in bed sits in Dublin and has tried to improve the heating of people’s homes. She believes we do need to re-visit the Lisbon Treaty decision.

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

    • Should the Lisbon Treaty referendum be re-run?
    • The use of social exclusion as a weapon against older people. It is on the increase with information technology excluding us, for example many people will now be excluded from traveling due to online check-in systems.
    • The responsibility of the European Parliament for this recession: why did they not monitor what was going on? What was the role of the Court of Auditors in all this?
    • More communication is required between Europe and Ireland e.g. a newsletter left in our libraries to let us know what is happening. The challenge is to tell people about European directives etc. in an interesting manner.
    • Was the comment about “Prionsias being in Europe too long” ageist?
    • Lack of social housing in some city centre areas.
    • The importance of Pensions older people – €300 a week now seems to be a long way away.
    • Loneliness is a problem for pensioners: this can be alleviated with a decent income as they could go to the pub or to the cinema and socialize.

    Dublin Euros

    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.

    Another four Euro candidates had attended the ISCP morning meeting. Apologies were received from Eoin Ryan MEP. The meeting was preceded by a small silent protest at the gates of Dáil Éireann as part of its ongoing campaign to reverse the Christmas cutback to pensions

    The day closed with a vote of thanks to all the candidates from the President of the ISCP Sylvia Meehan. She said that the ISCP is a non-party political organisation and hoped everyone would use their vote as they saw fit.

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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.