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Budget is an attack on children and on healthcare – Ó Caoláin

5 December, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

In an initial response to headline measures affecting children, older people and healthcare, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:

“Budget Day 2013 will go down in history as a day of shame for the Labour Party.

“They campaigned up and down the country on the slogan ‘Protect Child Benefit – Vote Labour’. Today they have cut the rate of Child Benefit by €10 per month for the first and second child, with increased cuts for third and subsequent children. That’s a €58 monthly cut for a family of four and €98 for a family of six.

“Both Labour and Fine Gael vehemently opposed the prescription charges for medical card holders imposed by Mary Harney – today they have TREBLED those charges to €1.50 per item and increased the monthly maximum payment from €10 per month to €19.50 per month.

“Health Minister James Reilly has failed to deliver the promised reductions in the price of medicines – instead he is passing the cost on to patients with higher prescription charges and the increase of the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme from €132 to €144 per month.

“The health needs of older people in particular are attacked in this budget. People over 70 with an income of €600 to €700 per week will lose their medical card and will receive the GP-only card. They will thus have to bear the full cost of medication. What if their income is over €700?

“This budget is a recipe for deeper poverty and poorer health, especially for low to middle income families with children and for older people.” ENDS

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