The massive pensioner protests which rocked the Government in 2008 could be repeated if the Government choose to act on the advice of the International Monetary Fund and cut back on medical cards for the over 70s Socialist Party councillor City Mick Barry said this morning.
Cllr Barry said this in the wake of yesterdays comments from IMF chiefs Craig Beaumont and Ajai Chopra calling for cuts in the basic dole, the means testing of child benefit, cuts in the household benefits package for elderly citizens and the costs involved in issuing medical cards for the over 70s. The comments from the IMF bosses come in the wake of a recommendation from the European Commission that the household benefits package for elderly citizens (free allocation of units for gas and electricity, free public transport, telephone allowance and free TV license) be targetted for cuts.
Cllr Barry was one of the organisers of a 3000-strong demonstration in Cork in 2008 against Government attempts to deny the medical card to over 70s, part of the huge protest movement which swept the country at the time and forced a partial retreat on the Government of the day.
This morning he said: “The Government would be well advised to ignore the advice of the IMF and stay well away from taking benefits away from our pensioners whether that be in the form of cutting free travel and the benefits package or in the form of targetting the medical card for the over 70s. If they foolishly decide to go down that road what happened in 2008 can happen again on a bigger scale.”