Sinn Féin Deputy Leader and spokesperson on public expenditure Mary Lou McDonald has said that HSE plans to withdraw medical cards from some 40,000 people is “yet another vicious attack on those on low incomes.”
Deputy McDonald said:
“When the budget was introduced before Christmas it was indicated that €1.1 billion of a cut would be made. At that time we remarked at the fact that James Reilly had not set out exactly where those cuts would fall. So with the Service Plan introduced yesterday we begin to get a glimpse of how things will shape up.
“Minister James Reilly has signed off on a plan that will deprive some 40,000 people of medical cards in 2013 and many more thereafter as the income criteria for receiving a medical card are changed.
“Minister Reilly’s so-called ‘service plan’ is merely a device for slashing essential services and again it is the least well off who will feel the most pain.
“Minister Reilly’s latest cruel cut is a further attack on those citizens on low incomes. It is the latest in a disgraceful litany of attacks such as cuts to child benefit, to the carers allowance and the imposition of an inequitable family home tax.
“Minister Reilly and this Government are completely out of touch with the reality for ordinary people right across this country as they plough ahead with a disastrous austerity agenda.
“It is time they took stock of the real social harm resulting from their policies. They could make a start by immediately reversing this latest cut.”