Tipperary Indepdentent Deputy Seamus Healy told the Dáil “Well Done” to Mairead Hayes, a native of Clonmel, who is a very senior person in the Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament and all those from Tipperary who came to Dublin by bus, train and car to support the protest by the elderly outside Leinster House on October 22nd.
Supporting a Fianna Fáil motion on the issue of services for the older people, Deputy Healy said. “The Tánaiste was at it again when he insulted the intelligence of elderly people by suggesting they had been untouched by austerity,” he said. “If I were charitable, I would call it spin, but if I were less charitable, it could only be described as a three letter word which starts with ‘l’ and finishes with ‘e’.”
Deputy Healy said the Government was hardly a wet week in office when in July 2011, the Minister for Social Protection cut the electricity allowance from 2,400 units to 1,800 units. The 2012 Budget cut six weeks from the fuel allowance. The 2013 Budget reduced the household benefits package and the electricity and telephone allowances, and it introduced a carbon tax. The Fair Deal scheme thresholds were increased in that in that the 15% of the value of the house was increased to 22.5%. The respite care grant was cut as were Home Help hours. Some 40,000 medical cards for elderly people were targeted, and that was before this Budget.
“We have seen the various changes affecting elderly people and the attacks on them in this Budget,” he said.
Landy highlights community benefit from Merck Sharp & Dohme
A marrying of the local donation and the local community benefit under The One Percent Difference campaign was called for in the Upper House by Tipperary Senator Denis Landy.
“The Irish level of corporate donations is at only 1%, a very low level,” he said. “I will give an example from my own area. Merck Sharp & Dohme is based outside Carrick-on-Suir. That company gives a phenomenal amount of money to the local community. I do not have a figure but practically every local organisation gets money in some shape or form from that company.”
Senator Landy said he always associated philanthropy with America rather than with Ireland. However, the Irish people give generously in comparison to other countries. A total of 89% of Irish people have given to charities but only on a sporadic basis.
“We need to change that mindset,” he said. “Only 15% of Irish people make regular donations to charity while across the water in the UK, 36% of people donate on a regular basis. Very little has been made of the fact that one per cent of a person’s time and effort can be committed locally. It is not all about money. We are living in difficult times and some people will not be able to contribute a percentage of their net income because they do not have an income. However, people can contribute one percent of their time and that time can be translated into voluntary work or into helping to fund-raise for an organisation. This part of the campaign should be emphasised more.”
We are a great nation to give our time, and several speakers have referred to the number of hours given at a local level by people to our national sports of hurling and football, he said. “Many hours are also given to music and the arts by people at a local level. This garners goodwill in a community, bringing happiness and joy, and it costs no money at all. This should not just be about money and it should also consider the giving of time, which can be translated into a feel-good factor for communities.”
WikiLeaks in the ha’penny place compared to Budget leaks - McGrath
WikiLeaks is in the ha’penny place after the leaks about the recent Budget, Tipperary Independent Deputy Mattie McGrath told the Dáil.
Deputy McGrath told the Taoiseach on the Order of Business that he had heard the entire Budget on Sean O’Rourke’s programme on RTE on the morning before the Budget was announced.
“I know he is trying to outdo Pat Kenny but he had the entire Budget, line for line and syllable by syllable,” he said. “When the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, was Minister of State at the Department of Finance some years ago he had to resign over a leak half an hour before the Budget Statement. This Budget was completely leaked. It is making a farce of this House.”