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Government must act to protect vulnerable customers if gas price hike is approved

Published 09/08/2013

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Age Action has warned that if the Commission for Energy Regulation grants the 7.22% price hike being sought by Bord Gais for its domestic customers it will cause further hardship for many older people this winter.

“Some older people are still paying off fuel large bills which were run up during the cold Spring,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.  “If gas prices rise by a further 7.22% it will leave an increased number of older people having to choose between food and fuel in the coming months.”

The older people’s charity believes the Government must act if the price increase is granted.  “The Government must live up to its commitment to protect the most vulnerable by reversing the fuel support cuts introduced in recent Budgets and ensuring that  every older person can afford to heat their home to a safe level,” he said.

Ireland has an excess winter death rate of between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths.  Many of these are older people who are dying from cold-related illnesses.  The high cost of energy is one of the factors contributing to these deaths.

In its pre-Budget submission, the older people’s charity highlighted the impact which the cumulative effect of successive austerity budgets were having on older people.  “While the State Pension has not increased since 2008, in the intervening period the price of gas has risen by 25.9%,” Mr Timmins said. “Now Bord Gais are seeking further increases.”

Age Action’s pre-Budget submission can be read at www.ageaction.ie/budget-2014

 

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World Refugee Day

 Today, June 20th is World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years. Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released this week shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.   Today, older refugees make up some 8.5 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12. Older refugees experience an additional burden due to their age and associated conditions. In a report published by the Centre for Policy on Ageing and Age UK, they identified that “the main issues facing older refugees and asylum seekers are low income, the language barrier, the risk of loneliness and a lack of social networks, and possibly a loss of social status”.  Reduced mobility and a high number of chronic medical conditions also greatly impact the life of an older refugee, as adequate and culturally appropriate healthcare is often difficult to access. As well, throughout their time in refugee shelters, older refugees are also more likely to experience social disintegration, the impact of negative social selection and chronic dependency on the resources of refugee shelters. According to the International Federation on Ageing “The contributions of older refugees can have far-reaching impacts on the preservation of the cultures and traditions of disposed and displaced people. The wisdom and experiences of older refugees must be harnessed through formal and informal leadership roles, to improve the welfare of all refugees”. Marion MacGregor, writing for InfoMigrants says “Older refugees can be seen as an asset, rather than simply requiring special care. In many families, it falls to them to look after children so that their parents can work….. Older people are transmitters of culture, skills and crafts that are important in preserving traditions of displaced people. The resilience of older people can help to strengthen communities and they can contribute to positive and peace-building interactions with the local host communities.”    

You might be due a tax refund

 

 

Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.