Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Kildare North Cllr Frank O’Rourke has accused the Government of continuing to betray medical card holders following the announcement of Budget 2016.

Cllr O’Rourke pointed out that Fine Gael and Labour have overseen a five-hold increase in prescription charges despite promising to abolish them altogether four years ago.

“Many people took former Minister for Health James Reilly at his word when he promised to abolish prescription charges in 2011. Instead he decided to treble the charge to €1,50 in 2013, and then added another euro a year later, bringing the charge to €2.50 per item. This massive hike in prescription charges is particularly cruel on many older people who rely on medication on a daily basis.

“Fine Gael and Labour insisted that economic circumstances meant it was necessary to triple prescription charges, despite independent analysis showing that there were fairer options open to the Government at the time. However again people took the Government at its word, but they are angry to realise that they have been betrayed yet again.

“The Government had the option to abolish these deeply unfair prescription charges as part of Budget 2016. However they decided not to do this and haven’t even reduced the charge by one cent. It’s deeply disappointing for countless older people who were hoping that this unfair charge would be lifted as part of the budget.

“I am calling on our Government TD’s here in Kildare to speak some sense to their Minister’s. This charge is continuing to cause deep upset amongst medical card holders and it should be abolished without any further delay,” said Cllr O’Rourke.