Fianna Fáil has learned that 16,356 medical cards have been lost to the over 70s in just one year.

In its latest betrayal of older people, the Government has confirmed in reply to a Parliamentary Question from Fianna Fáil that there have been widespread cuts to medical cards between April 2014 and April 2015. Every county has suffered cuts with the exception of Wexford, and more than half of the reductions are concentrated in Dublin.

The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Mental Health and Special Needs, Colm Keaveney TD, has expressed concern that these figures significantly understate the real level of cuts.

“At the end of April this year, there were 16,356 less people over the age of 70 with a medical card when compared to the same time last year.  That’s despite a steady increase in the population of older people.  Therefore in reality, the likelihood is that the losses are even greater than these figures suggest,” explained Deputy Keaveney.

“This is a huge level of cuts in the space of just a year, particularly given that it follows two years of sustained cuts to the entitlement. The Government announced a cull of medical cards for the over 70s in 2013.  These latest figures show this agenda is in full swing, and it’s having a real impact on people’s lives in every single community in the country.

“It’s an appalling betrayal of pensioners who have spent decades paying their taxes, raising their families and contributing to the country in every way possible.  Unfortunately these figures are just the latest example of what has become a sustained attack on older people at the hands of this Government.  As well has the cull of medical cards, more than a million home help hours have been taken away. Prescription charges have been increased five-fold.  The Telephone Allowance has been abolished.  The Bereavement Grant has been scrapped.”