Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD says the Government is carrying out a shameless cull of over 70s medical cards.  The latest figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal that almost 7,000 over 70s have had their medical cards taken away from them during the month of September.

The number of over 70s with medical cards fell from 332,872 at the start of September to 326,034 at the start of October – a drop of 6,838.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “Once again we see this Government targeting vulnerable older people as it attempts to bring a flawed health budget into line.  There has been a rapid acceleration in the number of over 70s having their medical cards removed in the last month causing increased anxiety and stress for these people and their families.  There was a significant acceleration in the number of over medical cards being removed from over 70s in September raising concern about the scale of the cuts to come.

“Older people have been singled out by this Government, which has imposed a raft of callous cuts over the last four Budgets.  It slashed the Household Benefits package, abolished the telephone allowance, reduced the Fuel Allowance and ordered a review of medical cards.  All of these measures have adversely affected the lives of the oldest and most vulnerable in this country.

“In opposition Enda Kenny was critical of the eligibility criteria for the over 70s medical card, yet his Government is now in the process of taking these cards away from thousands of older people every month. He no longer seems concerned about the “value of that little card” or the “psychological comfort” that it brings, as the cull on medical cards continues.

“In one month alone Enda Kenny’s government has deprived almost 7,000 over 70’s of the peace of mind that a medical card brings. It is an astonishing betrayal by the Taoiseach and should be addressed as a matter of urgency”.