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Sinn Féin launches Charter for Senior Citizens

8 June, 2004


Download: Sinn Féin Senior Citizens Charter 2004

Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe speaking at the launch of the party's Charter for Senior Citizens has pledged that Sinn Féin will support and actively pursue the political and legislative changes necessary to establish a decent standard of living, full access to services and the right of senior citizens to fully participate in the life of their community. Deputy Crowe said:

"In putting forward our Charter for Senior Citizens, Sinn Féin pledges that we will support and actively pursue the political and legislative changes necessary to establish a decent standard of living, full access to services and the right of senior citizens to fully participate in the life of their community.

"After a lifetime contribution to our society through their work, taxes and voluntary work in their communities we have to question how governments, who have benefited from these contributions, have repaid senior citizens.

"Poverty should have no place in our society yet the incomes of many senior citizens are falling radically behind that of the community as a whole. Our senior citizens are living on inadequate pensions, struggling with spiralling costs of living and inadequate access to public services.

"What is required is action and commitments across a broad range of policy areas. Action that supports community initiatives that challenge the violence of those who target our senior citizens and we need to support senior citizens in realising their vital role in our communities - we are all the losers without their contribution."ENDS

Senior citizens amongst the most excluded members of society - Dessie Ellis

Dublin City Sinn Féin Councillor Dessie Ellis has today said that "senior citizens are amongst the most excluded members of our society, and more needs done to protect their rights." Councillor Ellis was speaking as Sinn Féin unveiled its policy document entitled: "Rights for All, A Charter for Senior Citizens" Speaking today, Councillor Ellis said:

"This Charter for Senior Citizens has been produced following consultation with many groups and individuals working in this area. It sets out Sinn Féin‚s priorities across a whole range of issues including social inclusion, living in safety, transport, ending poverty and service provision.

"Almost half of those over 65 in this state are living in poverty and a quarter are living alone. The result is senior citizens are amongst the most excluded and vulnerable members of our society and more needs to be done to protect their rights.

"Sinn Féin is calling for greater social inclusion for senior citizens but this won't happen without a co-ordinated practical plan to bring this about. We have to ensure that housing for senior citizens is integrated into the community and not clustered away in isolation. We need to ensure that senior citizens have a sufficient standard of living and access to health, education and public transport. We also need to put in place support services to ensure that senior citizens can lead an active life, something which is a central element in combating social exclusion.

"The government need to take this issue seriously. We are calling for ministerial responsibility that specifically deals with the rights and entitlements of senior citizens - that drives strategy and decision making and can take actions across all departments and which puts the rights of the senior citizen at the heart of decision making."ENDS

Sinn Féin main recommendations:

  • Linking old age pensioners‚ social insurance contributions to inflation to ensure a sufficient standard of living
  • The abolition of the means test for full-time carers
  • Extension of free public transport for pensioners throughout the island
  • A better mix in new build public housing developments
  • Easier access to the Government subsidised Rural Transport Initiative
  • Year on year targets to eliminate unnecessary deaths from cold
  • Design of streets and roads should ensure a safe environment for senior citizens
  • An adequate level of nursing care in residential accommodation
  • Extension of resources available for home security
  • More resources for community based initiatives that promote social inclusion

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