You are here

Press Release

PHARMACISTS AND AGE ACTION RECOMMEND DEFERRAL OF PRESCRIPTION LEVY IPU Issue latest advice on accessing medicines during Covid-19 Pandemic

8 April 2020: The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) and Age Action have called for the Medical Card prescription levy to be suspended for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. The IPU said that the measure is proving especially difficult for cocooning patients to administer and that suspending it would remove a barrier to vulnerable patients accessing medicines.

Commenting, IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said, “One of the many challenges being experienced by people who are following official advice to cocoon at home is accessing medicines. This is being experienced most acutely by people over 70 or those with underlying conditions, the very people who are more likely to require regular medicines.

Older people’s organisations say Government response to financial pressure of COVID-19 is piecemeal and inadequate

 (Tuesday, 31 March 2020) Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland have described the Government extension of the fuel allowance as ‘piecemeal and inadequate’.

 Age Action & Active Retirement Ireland today criticized the piecemeal nature of the Government’s response to the financial challenges facing older people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. They argue that close to 70% of pensioners will not benefit from the announcement.

Age Action and the Irish Red Cross launch COVID-19 Hardship Fund to Assist Older People

(Tuesday, 31 March 2020) Older people facing additional hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic can apply for financial support from Age Action and the Irish Red Cross.

 Age Action and the Irish Red Cross are launching a COVID-19 Hardship Fund in partnership to support people experiencing difficulties meeting costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Unexpected costs can put an added strain on older people and the Hardship Fund will assist with the costs of increased food bills and associated delivery costs, replacing or upgrading essential small appliances, additional transport, energy or communication costs and the costs of additional safety or security equipment to enable older people to remain safe and well in their homes.

 

Age Action is Calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to Ensure the Protection of Persons with a Disability Living in Large Congregated Settings

Age Action today called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to ensure that the HSE take immediate and urgent measures to protect persons with a disability living in large congregated settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 clusters were reported in 3 residential settings and 17 nursing homes which accounts for 22% of the total number of COVID-19 clusters /outbreaks in Ireland according to data prepared by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre for NPHET on 28/03/20.

Connect, Inform and Support – Age Action’s COVID-19 Response

Age Action has launched Connect, Inform and Support – Age Action’s COVID-19 Response.

The organisation has reconfigured supports and services to ensure they stay connected to our members, partners and those who use their programmes.

Two main supports are outlined below and accessible by calling 0818911109 or you can find out more here

Tesco Ireland to further support the elderly, family carers and vulnerable with €270,000 Community Fund donation to support services during Covid-19

  • Tesco Ireland to donate €150,000 with three donations of €50,000 to ALONE, Age Action and Family Carers Ireland
  • Separately, a €120,000 donation to be made available to over 450 community-based local causes via store-based Community Fund

 

 

Thursday 26th March 2020: Tesco Ireland has today announced that it will make a series of special donations to local and national organisations through its ongoing Community Fund to help the country’s most vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the Community Fund, three special donations of €50,000 each will be made to ALONE, Age Action and Family Carers Ireland to support their efforts in helping the elderly, family carers and those most vulnerable members of our communities across the country.

Call for emergency lump sum payment to those on state pensions

Immediate financial buffer required to support older people to self-isolate

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland today called on the Government and Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty to do more for those whose health and wellbeing is most at risk from Covid-19.

While welcoming the measures by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to support workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland argue that those who rely solely on the State Pension have not got the financial bandwidth to meet the hidden costs of self-isolation, care costs and additional costs that arise from having a disability.

Age Action & Active Retirement Ireland call on people to protect their older family members during COVID-19

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland today called on the public to act in the interests of people who are vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 – older people and people with underlying health conditions.

Alarmed by reports on social and mainstream media of people disregarding the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and the Government to practice social distancing in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland who have a combined membership of approximately 35,000 people, criticised the actions of customers and some licenced premises operators.

Pension Inequality Firmly on the Election 2020 Campaign Agenda

Age Action joined the SIPTU led coalition of non-governmental organisations for the launch of the STOP67 campaign in Dublin today (Thursday, 23rd January) which aims to halt the increase of the state pension age for workers to 67 from next year in order to address inequalities in the pension system.

Speaking at the formal campaign launch in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “STOP67 is the SIPTU campaign to stop the increase of the state pension age to 67 on 1st January, 2021.

“SIPTU representatives are not surprised this is a major general election issue. We have been hearing from our members since the abolition of the transitional pension scheme in 2014 about the difficulties that the retirement gap has been causing for workers. This includes the absolute indignity of people coming up to 65 years of age who are expecting to get their pension and having to sign on the dole.”

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director, Orla O’Connor, said: “This is a core issue for women. Women rely on the state pension for the vast majority of their income in older age. So, anything that impacts on state pensions disproportionally impacts on women.”

Age Action Chief Executive, Paddy Connolly, said: “This campaign is not only about stopping the rise of the pension age to 67 but also the creation of a stakeholder forum which will consider issues such as finances, age discrimination and others that effect people in their retirement.”

Active Retirement Ireland chief executive, Maureen Kavanagh, said: “Ireland has the youngest population but the highest prospective retirement age in the EU. We are not under the demographic pressure of other countries. Retirement is a great part of life but it has to be voluntary, flexible and appropriate. We can’t force people out of a job that they love, or to stay in their job.”

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe Cunningham, called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to make clear their position on the pensions issue.

He added: “All the other political parties are supporting the ‘STOP67’ campaign. The big two parties must make their position clear.”

Age Action & Active Retirement Ireland call people to vote for reform, not promises!

Put Older People at the Heart of the Next Government

 

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland today launched their General Election 2020 manifesto.

The two leading organisations representing older people in Ireland are critical of pre-election promises that do not represent real change for older people and a fairer society for us all as we age.

Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland said, ‘The priority issues for the next government; health, housing, climate change and social welfare reform affect us all, including older people. We want people to vote for the political parties who are committed to ensuring the voice of older people is heard. Our members nationwide are demanding a voice at the table. A senior Minister for Older People is their number one demand.’

She continued, ‘our members want a Government that is committed to delivering an older person’s strategy across all Government departments. They want a Government that can demonstrate it is listening to their voice.’

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action said, ‘the current debate on pension reform and the sudden about face of TDs in Government and political parties highlights the lack of focus and planning for our ageing population. Real pension reform would benchmark and index the pension in line with international good practice in tandem with leading the way to abolish discriminatory work practices including mandatory retirement clauses. A Government that is concerned for older people would ensure free travel is protected and rural transport is developed so that older people don’t become isolated.”

A key issue for members of both organisations is pension reform. Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland want the next Government not to introduce the planned increase in the pension age to 67 in 2021 because of the disjointed and poor approach to planning which is disproportionately impacting on older people.

Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said “Despite wide-ranging pension policy changes in recent years across the State pension age, method of calculation, rate and supplementary pensions, Government has provided no information as to how and when these will take effect.  As a result, people planning for - and coming imminently close to - retirement are left unaware of what pension they will qualify for and whether they will have sufficient time to plan for income security once they retire.”

Age Action and Active retirement Ireland have also called for the next Government to prioritise the commitment to introduce a new statutory homecare scheme in 2021, address the current waiting list for home supports and commission research on the cost of ageing to inform Ireland’s policy development that meets the needs of an ageing population.

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland Priority Asks for General Election 2020

  1. Appoint a senior Minister for Older People

       Addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of ageing requires a whole-of-Government approach. Appoint a senior Minister for Older People, within the Department of An Taoiseach, with priority actions of developing a strategy that will respond to the needs of our ageing demographic.

  1. Depoliticise the State pension

       Indexing of current and future pension rates facilitates proper planning, it provides peace of mind for older workers and crucially it depoliticises the budget process. The next Government should benchmark the State Pension to 34% of average weekly earnings and apply a triple lock which guarantees that the basic rate rises each year by a minimum of 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth (whichever is the largest).

  1. Suspend the planned increase in the state pension age to 67 in 2021

       In the context of proposed increases to the State pension ages in the near future and the on-going lack of clarity around the new rules, it is simply not fair to raise the State pension age without adequate time for us all to prepare. The increase in the pension age to 68 will mean a cut of nearly 10% in pension income over a person’s lifetime in retirement.

  1. Appoint a Commissioner for Ageing with statutory powers to support their mandate

       Many older people feel left behind in the eyes of policymakers. An independent champion and advisor to government in the form of a Commissioner for Ageing is vital to promote cohesive, efficient, best practice government policy and services for our ageing population.

5.     Take ambitious climate action consistent with climate justice to protect people and the planet

      Climate action policies must be designed in such a way that the people and communities most vulnerable to negative impacts are identified and given voice so that measures are put in place to protect them and to enable them to reap the benefits of climate action.

ENDS

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Press Release