Brid Smith to Challenge Attack on Elderly
The combined policies of the Troika parties of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour has led to a major worsening in the living standards of the elderly.
Over the course of two governments –FF and Greens and Fine Gael and Labour – major attacks have been mounted on the elderly. Here are just some of the ways life has worsened.
- Home Help hours have been cut by over 2 million hours between 2007 and 2013. There would have been more cuts if there had not been strong protests.
- Abolition of the State Pension (Transition). This means that the retirement age has been effectively increased to 66.
- A levy on private pensions. It is estimated that people are worse off by about €1,000 a year as a direct result of this ‘levy’.
- Cuts in Household Benefits Package. Amongst the worse of these cuts are the electricity and gas allowances. These cuts directly contribute to excess deaths in the winter months. Around 70 percent of these excess deaths from cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease arises in the lowest socio-economic group.
- Reduction in number of Medical Cards for over 70 and increases in the drugs payment scheme threshold. A medical card should be a universal right for those over 70. (We go further: Ireland, should in fact, have a proper National Health Service where sickness is treated regardless of income)
- Reduction in the housing adaption grants caused severe hardship for the sick and disabled.
- Abolition of the free telephone allowance and bereavement grant.
The combined effects of these cuts has been to create stress and misery for tens of thousands of the elderly.
Brid Smith will challenge the patronising way that the political establishment treats the elderly in order to uphold conservative values.
She will attack the discourse that the elderly are a ‘burden’ on the economy. Instead of, for example, accepting the argument that we face a ‘pension time’ because there are growing numbers of older people, Brid Smith will argue that our productivity has increased far more dramatically. If we had a more equal society where people were not discarded as economically useless when they do not contribute to profit aiming, then we could easily provide for proper pensions.
She will expose the manner in which the EU elite held a co-ordinated campaign to raise the retirement age for those under 50 to, eventually, 68.
If elected she will use her position as an MEP to campaign for
- Proper Home Help provision that is organised through a national health service rather than private for profit companies.
- A reduction in the retirement age.
- No forced retirement – voluntary withdrawal from labour force.
- Full, free medical cover for all over 60 as a first step to a national health service.
End fuel poverty – restore all energy allowances to reduce hypothermia.