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Order of Business

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Senator Rónán Mullen

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Yes, but I believe the specific issue I am raising should be addressed in more detail by the Minister. New data from census 2016, published in mid-June, show there has been a 19% increase in the number of retired people in the country since 2011. This amounts to over 500,000 people. Retirees have spent their whole working lives investing in their families, communities and country. The State needs to be more proactive in supporting these retirees in future years, in particular to prevent financial abuse of those who are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged in later life.
I call on staff working in financial institutions to act promptly if they suspect their older customers are being exploited through various transactions and also to act with more consideration towards older persons. The banks are altering their business models, eliminating cash and coin services and also cheque services if they get their way. They are often acting in major disregard of sections of the community. I do not wish to generalise too much but I have had the experience of dealing with retired persons who are utterly frustrated as they try to pay for their health insurance, for example. They are told cheques are not accepted anymore. The world is moving on according to a particular idea of the common good but it tends to be a very self-centred business and commercial idea of the common good. We have all been in banks where we have seen officials trying to answer the queries of an increasingly bewildered group who find the banks are just not receptive to their needs or attentive to them. We are dealing with an older population that is set to grow substantially. It does not comprise older persons exclusively but there is to be a rise from 12%, the current percentage of the population, to 22% by 2041. This is an issue for the upcoming Private Members' business but a wider discussion is needed in the House so we can pay attention to the issues in their entirety.