Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr Mary Hanafin
Dún Laoghaire

02 February 2016

Fine Gael/Labour Govt has let down older people – Hanafin

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dún Laoghaire Cllr Mary Hanafin has blasted the outgoing government for the way they have treated older people. “Despite their claims to have protected older people, the actions of Fine Gael and Labour tell a different story.

“There has been a raft of cuts and measures that have directly affected the incomes of older people. Older people have seen a hike in prescription fees, changes to the eligibility criteria for medical cards, removal of telephone allowance, and reductions in the vital Household Benefits Package, the abolition of the Bereavement Grant and the introduction of water charges. Furthermore, the State Pension has not increased in line with inflation.

“As a consequence of the actions of this Government the rate of deprivation for those aged 65 and over has increased from 9.5% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2014. It is a myth that older people have been protected,” added Cllr Hanafin.

Speaking at an Active Retired Association election hustings in Dún Laoghaire, Cllr Hanafin added: “Fianna Fáil is committed to ensuring older people are valued in our society and that they have the resources and the services that they require to live full and independent lives.

“We are committed to an ‘Independent Living Contract’ for older people.  Our measures will ensure that older people see a tangible and measurable improvement in living standards and services during our time in Government. The Independent Living Contract Involves a number of key measures, all of which are independently costed:
* Increase the State Pension by €30 to €263
* Increase in the Living Alone Allowance to €15
* Full restoration of Housing Adaptation Grants
* Phased abolition of Prescription Charges
* Ending Mandatory Retirement
* New Social Entrepreneurship Fund
* Specific Employment Supports for over 50s
* End the anomaly in Contributory Pensions
* More flexible access to Pension Funds
* Protect private pensions
* Mandatory sentences for assaults on older people
* Active living promotion through education, sports and social club supports
* Specialised accommodation for older people in the heart of communities
* New national strategy for long term care.”

-ENDS-