APM News in Brief 2014 Irish Senior Citizens Parliament 2014

The Annual Parliament Meeting 2014 took place in the Liberty Hall Theatre & Conference Centre on 13th & 14th May 2014 at which the following Officers and Executive Committee were elected to serve for the coming year

  • President: John Walsh
  • Vice-President: Nell Foley
  • Hon. Secretary: Evelyn Moran
  • Treasurer: Ena O’Mahoney
  • Trustees: John Tierney, John J. McLoughlin

Executive Committee Members

Paddy Behan, Imelda Browne, Padraic Browne, Larry Burtenshaw, Peter Campbell, Paddy Coughlan, Larry Duggan, Joe Jennings, David McManus, Patrick Morgan, Antonia Murphy, Seamus Murray, Patrick Philpott, Patrick A. Stanley, Paul Walsh.

Delegates attended a dinner and social evening on Tuesday night which was enjoyed by all.

APM 2014 – Motions

The following motions were passed at APM 2014:

  • Call for the appointment of a Full Minister for Older People.
  • Protection of Older People call for a high level meeting with government to impress upon them the need to protect older people both financially and in all aspects of their lives.
  • Household Benefits Package Cuts there were strong calls for the reversal of the cuts to all of the benefits with each one detailed by several speakers with great passion and vigour.
  • Restoration of Telephone Allowance strong calls for its restoration to ensure people retain landlines for security systems especially where broadband coverage is inadequate.
  • Bereavement Grant to be restored.
  • Living Alone Allowance called for an increase in the rate for this essential payment which has remained static for several years.
  • Medical Card Restoration called for the restoration of the over 70s medical card.
  • Prescription Charges called for the Parliament to campaign for their abolition. They have increased by 500% since their introduction.
  • Medical Card Assessment Methods called for the system in place for the renewal of cards for older people in Nursing Homes to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Many cards were stopped for these vulnerable people and the excuse was that their new address was not known to the Department of Health.
  • Universal Health Insurance called on the Parliament to engage in all aspects of the consultation process and to closely monitor all areas of this government proposal to ensure that older people are protected.
  • Crisis in the Health Services the APM viewed with alarm the deterioration of services for young and old. As an emergency measure it called for the appointment of individual Ministers with full Ministerial power to handle designated areas for a specified period.
  • Drugs & Alcohol Misuse condemned by delegates who urged more services so that the harm and anxiety caused to older people and families across the country would end.
  • Closure of Garda Stations called for a structure to be put in place to ensure adequate care and protection for older and vulnerable people in urban and rural areas with particular emphasis on those living in rural areas.
  • Pre-Pension Older People called for the position of this group to be treated as a special category in discussions with government. For many their sole income is €188 per week job seeker benefit and there are few if any prospects of a job.
  • Transparency in the Appointment of Pension Trustees called as a matter of urgency, for a transparent system for the appointment of Trustees to Occupational Pension Schemes. There is a concern that many appointments are controlled by the employers.
  • Social Welfare & Pensions (No 2) Bill 2013 called for a review of this provision which allowed for pensions in payment to be reduced by Trustees of Schemes. There is serious concern at the manner and speed with which Scheme Trustees are using this provision to reduce pensions in payment to the maximum allowed. Further there is a concern that employers, many of whom are cash rich, are walking away from their responsibilities or are not being pressed to contribute under the legislation.
  • Pension Protection Fund called for the establishment of a fund financed along the lines of the UK Protection Fund.
  • “Right of Audience” for Pensioners called for the ISCP to pursue the right of pensioners to use the Industrial Relations Machinery of the State to vindicate their rights.
  • Penalty for the non-payment of Household Charge (no longer in place) to be abolished.
  • Water Charges called for the charges to be scrapped based on the view that they are unjust and unfair. There has not been sufficient consultation leading to uncertainty regarding the charging mechanisms and the ultimate costs which will be imposed.
  • “Putting People First” The Alignment Report called for the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government who published this report to amend the proposals for the tendering process for the delivery of services to disadvantaged communities. Such amendments to reflect proven previous experience, long term relationships with disadvantaged communities and the ability to deliver community services.
  • Loss of Free to AIR viewing of GAA Matches called for Executive Committee to make representations to the GAA, the Minister and the Provider to seek a solution which would allow older and disabled people especially those in rural areas who cannot afford the cost of Pay to View and are unable to travel to access a service.
  • Privitisation of Dublin Bus Routes concern expressed by the Ballyfermot Seniors Forum that this action would have a detrimental effect on the services available to older people.
  • Reductions in Dublin Rosslare Rail Services called for the Incoming Executive to make representations to the Minister for Transport to ensure that an adequate service is maintained.
  • Repeal of Stamp Duty Pensions Levy called for the ISCP to ensure that this levy and the legislation enabling it is repealed. It is causing extreme hardship to many schemes who are already in deficit as well as additional hardship to pensioners whose pensions are being to pay it.
  • Private Health Insurance Tax Relief motion called for the original arrangement, whereby, the total amount of the premium paid was allowed for tax purposes to be restored.
  • Medical Expenses Tax Relief called for the relief to be given at the marginal rather than the standard rate.
  • Post Office Closures motion called for the reversal of the closure of Post Offices and their transfer from rural to urban areas and urged the ISCP to pursue this matter with Government.
  • Closure of Small Local Credit Unions called for the ISCP to make representations to ensure that solvent successful local credit unions are allowed to remain open.

Raffle 2014

Tickets are available for Raffle 2014 which will be held on Thursday 9th October 2014. Please support the efforts of our Fundraising Committee. Tickets are a book of 3 for €5 or €2 each.

Hard Copies of “News In Brief” are available on request

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