Attacks on the elderly and the most vulnerable have been condemned by members of Tipperary Town Council.
Cllr. Jacqui Finnan hit out at the Government, saying they were focusing on an easy target when concentrating their cost cutting efforts on cutting home help, means testing medical cards for all over the age of 70 years, cutting electricity and telephone allowances and also reviewing the free travel.
She said there had been no increase in the pension in four years. ]
She said that this attack on the elderly was particularly callous in light of Minister Brendan Howlin’s failure last week to meet the his own cost cutting target of €75m in allowances for public servants so spectacularly, when he only managed to make a saving of €3.5m.
‘I want to support this motion’, stated Labour Cllr. Billy Bourke who expressed his disappointment at his own party’s performance in power and called on the Government ‘to cut their own wages first’.
‘It is a very sad situation that the elderly are the ones that are under attack’, added Cllr. John Hartnett. However he said that a lot of these things were put out as kites in the run up to the budget.
And he criticised the fact that these proposed cuts were being leaked by people whom he said had their own agenda. ‘If I was leaking information from my work place, I would be sacked,’ added Cllr. Hartnett. He also stated that he felt the Budget should be announced in October and not in December as he said people were afraid to spend because they were unsure what would be in the budget.
Cllr. Hartnett claimed the country was ‘stone broke and we have no real control over our own destiny. We are being dictated to by the troika.’
‘I have sympathy for the Government, we have half a million people unemployed, another half million of our population are children and one million elderly, there are two million people there in the middle trying to keep it all going. It is an impossible situation,’ added Cllr. Hartnett.
‘I have no sympathy for these Ministers who will have fat pensions to live off of when they retire,’ retorted an angry Cllr. Finnan.
‘I admit that their salaries are too big but we do have to look at our situation realistically,’ countered Cllr. Hartnett.
Mayor Ruadhri Devitt said that while things such as home-help should be left alone, he had no issues with the Medical Card being means tested as he felt there were plenty of retired Ministers out there over the age of 70 who could well afford their own medical care.