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Mass Dail protest is planned by elderly

A "grey revolt" against the Government's Budget cuts will bring thousands of elderly protesters to the streets next week.

A rally outside the Dail on Tuesday has been organised by the Irish Senior Citizens' Parliament (ISCP), which has more than 400 affiliated groups.

The demonstration will mark the fifth anniversary of the huge demonstration by elderly people against Budget cuts in 2008.

ISCP chief Mairead Hayes told the Herald: "People are gobsmacked at the abolition of the bereavement grant and are upset the phone grant has been taken too."

Ms Hayes called on family members of elderly people to represent them at the protest if they were unable to attend.

ILLNESSES

SIPTU's Frank Gannon said the abolition of the death grant could drive people into the hands of money lenders.

He added: "Increased prescription charges could see those with multiple illnesses having to make choices about what drugs to take."

And Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of making "untrue" claims that only 3pc of the over-70s would be hit by medical card changes.

"Budget 2014 will take the medical card off 35,000 over-70s," he said. "But the bigger problem for our elderly is that this comes on top of the removal of 20,000 over-70 medical cards in Budget 2013.

"Over two Budgets, Enda Kenny and his colleagues will be taking the medical card away from around 55,000 people over the age of 70."

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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