Pensioners have been singled out for the “worst of the cuts next year” under Budget 2014, which amounts to little more than “a disgraceful attack on older people”.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson and Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív who said the reduction in medical cards, a hike in prescription charges, the abolition of the telephone allowance, increased tax on savings, and the scrapping of the bereavement grant is no more than the Government “taking vital supports from older people”.
According to Dep Ó Cuív, the cut in the medical card eligibility means c35,000 older people will lose their full medical cards; while the “huge hike” in prescription charges to €2.50 represents a five-fold increase from the original charge of 50c, which Health Minister James Reilly promised to abolish.
Dep Ó Cuív said removing the telephone allowance “adds to the security risks of older people” across County Galway who “already feel isolated and vulnerable”.
“For many people, their phone is linked to their home and personal security alarms,” he said. “When the telephone allowance is scrapped many older people won’t be able to keep their landlines and will be forced to give up that important element of their personal security.”
Dep Ó Cuív is now calling on the Government to “seriously reconsider its approach