Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea today launched the party’s document on older people. Entitled ‘Empowering Older People’ the document outlines a range of measures that will improve income adequacy and living standards for older people.

Mr. O’Dea commented, “Fianna Fáil is committed to an Independent Living Contract for older people. This contains a suite of measures that will empower older people to enjoy full, active and independent lives for as long as possible. 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, whilst also introducing a mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of assault causing serious harm to anyone aged over 65.

“Older people have been hit by a number of harsh and punitive measures that have had a direct negative impact on their income and living standards. Fine Gael and Labour abolished the Telephone Allowance, axed the Bereavement Grant, reduced entitlements under the Household Benefits Package and increased prescription charges five fold.

“This Government may claim that they have protected older people, but Fine Gael is driven by an ideology of favouring the wealthiest to the detriment of everyone else and this is evident by the fact that every single budget they introduced was regressive.

“Fianna Fáil has a different vision for Ireland and our older people. We don’t believe in a two tier society and a two tier Ireland. We want Ireland in which older people are seen as an asset, not a burden; we want an Ireland where older people have an adequate income and a decent standard of living; we want an Ireland in which older people feel safe in their homes and in their communities; we want a fairer Ireland and we are the only party that can and will deliver this”.