Fianna Fáil General Election candidate in Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says his Party will improve income adequacy and living standards for older people.  The Party launched a new document, “Empowering Older People”, which outlines the measures it will bring in to ensure that older people are supported and protected.

Mr. Smith explained, “Fianna Fáil has committed to an Independent Living Contract for older people so that they can live full, active, independent and dignified lives.  Our new document, “Empowering Older People” sets out a series of measures that will enable older people to stay living in their own homes for as long as possible as an integral part of their communities.

“These are people who have raised families, worked in their communities and have made valuable contributions to society.  Our Independent Living Contract will give older people the right to continue to utilise their talents, knowledge and insight, and as a society, we have an obligation to ensure this happens.

“Fianna Fáil will increase the State Pension by €30, raise the Living Alone Allowance to €15, and abolish water charges and prescription charges. Furthermore, we will protect the free travel scheme, end mandatory retirement and set up a Social Entrepreneur Fund to give seed money to over 60’s with fresh ideas for social entrepreneurship. In addition we will provide an additional 2.2 million hours of home help and a further 3,500 home care packages, while also introducing a mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of assault causing serious harm to anyone aged over 65.

“Fine Gael and Labour have punished older people over the past five years.  They abolished the telephone allowance, cut entitlements under the Household Benefits Package and increased prescription charges five fold.  They were also hit hard by the introduction of the pension levy. This Government’s claims that it has protected older people are simply not true.

“The measures that Fianna Fáil is proposing will help undo the damage done by the current Government and will dismantle the two-tier society that Fine Gael and Labour have created.  We want to ensure that older people can play a full part in our society.  We will take steps to provide an adequate income and a decent standard of living;  we want a fairer Ireland and we are the only party that can and will deliver this”.