After a number of tough years, the recent Budget announced by the Government included a series of measures to help families, older people, and local communities feel the benefits of the recovery that is underway.
In Government, the Labour Party has been extremely anxious to protect many of the vital supports that are provided to older people and which many rely on for their everyday lives. For example, we maintained core payments such as the Old Aged Pension, and we ensured that all those aged 65 and over are entitled to free public travel.
In addition to maintaining these core supports, in Budget 2015 the Labour Party has argued for and achieved a series of additional members to help older people.
• 25% restoration of the Christmas bonus – so that recipients of long-term social welfare payments get an additional payment over the Christmas period
• Increase to Living Alone Allowance – so that the weekly rate of this important allowance rises from €7.70 to €9
• Ending of the Pension Levy – so that the 0.6% pension levy and the additional 0.15% levy that were introduced in recent years are abolished by the end of 2015
• Seniors Alert Scheme – so that monitored alarms are provided to older people to allow them live securely and safely in their own home
Further to the above, we will also be announcing the next phase of our plan for free GP care, prioritising all those aged 70 and over. Taken together, these measures will ensure that all Irish people begin to feel the economic recovery in their everyday lives leading to an improved standard of living.
The Labour Party knows the valuable contribution that older people make to our communities and understand the sacrifices that many have made over the years. We want to continue to work with you so that all of us can benefit in the years ahead.
As your local Labour Party representative, please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss these or any other issues.