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Alliance encourages elderly to highlight needs to candidates

Resource type: News

The Irish Times |

Several Atlantic grantees are mentioned in this article.


AN ALLIANCE of groups has launched a campaign to encourage older people to highlight their needs when election candidates come calling in the coming weeks.

The Older And Bolder alliance said its “On the Doorstep” campaign wanted to ensure that the needs of vulnerable older people were protected by getting commitments from candidates running in the local and European elections.

Its project director, Patricia Conboy, said the campaign was in response to recent comments by Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and others that welfare supports for older people may be cut in the next budget.

The campaign will involve public meetings around the State over the coming weeks, an intensive media campaign and the distribution of thousands of canvass cards to older people.

Ms Conboy said the campaign would not be party political and the alliance had no plans to run candidates.

UCD economist Joe Durkan said he believed the real level of welfare payments could be cut over the next few years and predicted that HSE cutbacks would have a greater impact on older people.

He warned that older people could be asked to contribute more to services and said a prescription charge might be considered. “And I suspect there is a lot more to come . . .”

Gerry Hughes of Trinity College Dublin’s pension policy research group said the State pension should be increased. Ireland had the second lowest state pension in the EU and one of the highest levels of pensioner poverty.

Senior Help Line’s Anne Dempsey dismissed the idea that older people were a burden on services and pointed to CSO figures which showed that 15 per cent of older people were involved in voluntary work.

The Older And Bolder alliance includes Active Retirement Ireland; Age and Opportunity; Age Action Ireland; the Alzheimer Society of Ireland; the Carers Association; the Irish Hospice Foundation; the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and Senior Help Line.

© 2009 The Irish Times