Speaking after he launched his Party’s Citizens Charter for older people in Blessington last Thursday, Sinn Fein’s candidate for Wicklow/East Carlow Councillor John Brady has hit out at Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail over what he describes as a legacy of neglect when it comes to the rights and welfare of the country’s older citizens:
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet local people and talk about the challenges facing communities like Blessington at the launch of our citizen’s charter for older people. The prospect of getting older in Ireland should not be a source of fear and anxiety. Older people who have worked all their lives contributing to Irish society should be able to to enjoy their twilight years in safety and in comfort. However, the policies adopted by successive governments have sadly pushed the needs of our older citizens behind the needs of the privileged few.”
“Under the Fine Gael/Labour coalition in particular, many older citizens have been ignored and ill-treated. While many older people have had to wave goodbye to some of their younger relatives forced to emigrate, they have also been left isolated and anxious due to the closure of rural Garda stations and post offices. They have been left stranded due to poor transport infrastructure and they have been left financially strained due to cuts in the heating allowance, the cost of prescription fees and the imposition of water and property charges. In fact, in almost every tangible area, our older citizens have had to bare a scandalously disproportionate share of the Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour austerity assault”.
Councillor Brady went on to say that Sinn Fein’s citizen’s charter for older people represents a commitment to reverse the policies that have brought so much distress to our older citizens:
“How can it be the case in modern Ireland that we tolerate such neglect of our older citizens? How have we tolerated deliberate political choices which have forced so many of our older people to struggle needlessly? Sinn Féin will invest to protect the welfare of the very people our society should cherish. Sinn Fein will deliver dignity, security and equality for our older people so that all of us can live long and prosper in Ireland.”