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No country for the elderly

•The report released by the Society of St Vincent De Paul (September 8) makes for painful reading, with older people going to bed early to reduce fuel bills and significant issues in relation to public transport in Dublin.

So what do we do? Rather than improving our public transport services, as was recommended by the Deloitte Report, Dublin Bus is cutting bus routes so that old people have to wait longer and walk significant distances to get to hospital appointments, local shops, etc.

The report highlights the fact that significant numbers of older people are "using taxis at great expense" to attend hospital appointments rather than relying on public transport services.

In my own area, the recent cutting of the number 19 bus, despite significant objections from 13,500 commuters and 37 public representatives from across the city, has led to a 65pc reduction in the frequency of bus services. This is already causing significant confusion and hardship for many older people and is contributing to increased isolation.

And the number 19 bus is not an isolated story -- bus cuts are now widespread across the city. This systematic erosion of confidence in our bus services has led many people to bring their cars back on the road, once more undermining our transport policy for Dublin city.

The majority of older people don't have this option, yet it now appears that they are being punished for the sins of the developers, bankers and civil servants who we have rewarded with extravagant gifts and exorbitant pensions.

Yes, we now live in a society where one person's hand is adorned with a €11,500 bauble while many older people look nervously at their watches and go to bed at 7pm to save on fuel bills.

So the very people who worked hard all their lives and contributed significantly to the fabric of our society are now cast aside and considered disposable.

Sleep soundly, Michael Fingleton et al, as the less fortunate in our society put another blanket on their beds and have to deal with the harsh reality of the gambling with our economy which is now the legacy of the Celtic Tiger years.

Mark Lawler
South Circular Rd, Kilmainham D8

Irish Independent