Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary has described Budget 2014 as a ‘brutal betrayal’ of older people.
Deputy Calleary commented, “The government has singled out pensioners for significant cuts next year. The dramatic cut in the medical card eligibility means that an estimated 35,000 older people will lose their full medical cards. This, on top of the hike in prescription charges, the abolition of the telephone allowance, the increase in DIRT tax savings and the scrapping of the bereavement grant amounts to a disgraceful attack on older people.
“Just a few years ago, Minister for Health James Reilly said he was ‘proud to stand up for the generation that built this country’. Today, he is betraying that generation. Pensioners who have worked for decades, paid their taxes and made a huge contribution to society and the economy are now being left out in the cold by this government. Their medical supports, their household benefits package, the small support they get when they are widowed, and even their savings are now been targeted.
“Taking away medical cards from tens of thousands of older people will jeopardise the health of those most vulnerable to illness. Removing the telephone allowance adds to the security risks of many older people who already feel isolated and vulnerable in their phones. For many older people, their phone is linked to their home and personal security alarms. Abolition the telephone allowance will force many older people to give up that security blanket.
“This budget is a brutal betrayal of the older generation. I am calling on the government to seriously reconsider its approach before it’s too late,” said Deputy Calleary.