Galway European and Local Election Meeting

The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament’s Galway meeting with European and Local Election candidates took place on 13 May 2009 in the Salthill Hotel. Candidates from the North-West Euro Constituency and Galway local electoral areas were invited.

The meeting was attended by two European Candidates: Marian Harkin MEP (Independent) and Fiachra Ó Luain (Independent). Mary Thornton was also present representing Declan Ganley (Libertas).

The day began with a presentation on Elder Abuse by Susan Rodden, HSE Senior Case Worker (Elder Abuse) in Galway. The group was drawn to the fact that 85% of people who are abused are living in their own homes, 45% of abusers are family members the majority of whom are sons or daughters and in 62% of cases the Older Person is living with their abuser.

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion and a question and answer session.

Marian Harkin MEP spoke about pensions (outlining her work in this area), rural transport & the removal of the Community Support Scheme.

Fiachra Ó Luain spoke about how both the younger & older generations had been “robbed by the Government”.

Mary Thornton (on behalf of Declan Ganley) spoke about medical cards, childrens’ allowances & that women should be enabled to be at home with their children.

The meeting was joined by 5 local candidates Cllr. Niall Ó Brolcháin (Green Party), Tom Hanly (Sinn Féin), AJ Cahill (Independent), Sheila Mangan (Fianna Fáil), and Cllr. Catherine Connolly (Independent).

The meeting provided an opportunity to engage with the candidates on issues that affect the elderly. Topics covered included: the provision of community facilities & involvement, isolation of older people, water quality, the removal of the medical cards from over-70s, the removal of the Christmas bonus & widows pensions.

The Galway meeting was chaired by Evelyn Moran, Honorary Secretary of the ISCP. It was attended by a large group of representatives from local Senior Citizen groups, Active Retirement groups and volunteers from the Senior Help Line. Máiréad Hayes, the Parliament’s CEO, and Lauren Quinn Taylor, the ISCP Policy officer also attended.

Michael McNamara attended the meeting in Westport the next day. Apologies were received from Jim Higgins MEP, Susan O’Keefe, Pat the Cope Gallagher TD and Paschal Mooney.