Wednesday 7 December 2016

Remember this Budget blunder? A nod to this year's 'grey' vote, provoke pensioners at your peril

Published 11/10/2016 | 10:08

Fianna Fail junior health minister John Maloney as agry pensioners turned out in their droves
Fianna Fail junior health minister John Maloney as agry pensioners turned out in their droves
The front page of the Irish Independent on October 22, 2008

This year's budget is being billed as the 'grey' one as the Government gears up to future-proof the vote of pensioners and older voters.

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Budget 2017 measures include a €5 increase in the weekly pension and an increase in the Christmas bonus.

Lessons of the past being remembered, perhaps.

Remember 2008 when Fianna Fail was forced into a u-turn on a decision to introduce means testing for medical cards for pensioners?

Thousands, young and old, took to the streets to protest the move before the u-turn was taken.

But perhaps the biggest shock was reserved for the-then Fianna Fail junior health minister John Maloney.

The front page of the Irish Independent on October 22, 2008
The front page of the Irish Independent on October 22, 2008

As part of the protest, angry pensioners turned out in their droves to an Age Action meeting which was then moved from a hotel to Andrew’s Church on Dublin's Westland Row.

Unanimously backing a motion calling on the Government to reverse its decision to abolish the automatic right to medical cards to those over 70, they then turned on Moloney.

He was booed and heckled as he attempted to speak from the altar - he eventually gave up and left.

Provoke the grey vote at your peril.

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