'We need a three-year programme....older people are worn out assisting with childcare'
THE Government should appoint a full Cabinet minister for older people.
That is the view of Máiréad Hayes of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, which says it is the voice of the elderly.
She also called for an implementation plan for the National Positive Ageing Strategy.
Ms Hayes said the Government needs to put in place a three-year programme to restore some of the payments and benefits that were removed from older people during the financial crash.
"Aware that there will be a General Election sooner rather than later, we are also asking opposition parties and independent deputies to indicate their support for our three-year programme proposal.
"We seek from all parties a commitment to include in their Programmes for Government after the election a Recovery Programme for Older People 2016-2018," she said.
The Senior Citizens Parliament welcome some of the measures announced in the recent Budget.
"Based on feedback from older people before the Budget we know that many of them will give a great welcome to the improvement in childcare and paternity leave.
"Older people are worn out assisting with childcare. In some cases they are the sandwich between the young and the older old as they juggle caring duties for both," Ms Hayes said. Her organisation welcomed the increase to 75pc in the Christmas bonus, and the extra €3 a week in the State pension.
The changes to the universal social charge (USC) rates and bands will also mean additional money for some pensioners, she said.
"It's a good start but much more needs to be done," Ms Hayes said.