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Maskey calls for measures to tackle social exclusion

30 October, 2003

South Belfast Assembly candidate Cllr Alex Maskey speaking at the launch of the party's Charter for Senior Citizens said it is an indictment of society that more than 1,300 pensioners died last year as a result of the cold. Cllr. Maskey said:

"Between April and July this year there were at least 420 attacks on senior citizens in the Six Counties. Over 1,300 pensioners died last year as a result of the cold. This figure should send shock waves throughout our society - 1,300 pensioners dying because they cannot keep themselves warm.

"There are a number of specific policy initiatives that Sinn Féin believe will combat levels of poverty and social exclusion.

"Our main recommendation include:-

· A Commissioner for Senior Citizens

· A Fundamental review of the standard of living of senior citizens, including pension provision, cost of living, fuel poverty and disposable income

· Year on year targets to eliminate unnecessary deaths from cold

· Introduction of free personal care and an adequate level of nursing care in residential accommodation

· Fair access to health care for senior citizens based on clinical need

· Free telephone line rental, free TV licences and examination of potential of free Internet access

· Free public transport across the island of Ireland

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