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Order of Business

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Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I want to speak about the Citizens' Assembly, which met this weekend, in terms of elderly people. I have had many concerns expressed in my clinic by people who had to retire at 65. They then claim jobseeker's benefit from the Department of Social Welfare, which is €188. However, until they actually turn 65 and transfer to the old age pension, which is €230, they are at the loss of €42. That is unacceptable.
The decision by the Citizens' Assembly at the weekend, which was unanimous, was that elderly people should be given the option to retire. Those of us in this House need to address that. Some people might want to retire, but others might not. We are living longer. Our population is growing, so we need to give people that chance. The Minister should come into the House and address this issue. When the Citizens' Assembly addressed it, its members knew how serious it was because people are at the loss of a lot of money in the year they turn from 65 to 66. That is crucial. When people work all their life, they are entitled to their entitlements.
I raise the issue of boundaries. In my area late last week, there was an accident on the Portlaoise Road, which is on the Carlow-Laois boundary. When the elderly gentleman rang Carlow Garda station, he was told he had to ring Abbeyleix Garda station, which is nearly an hour away. He was told by the person in Abbeyleix that there was only one Garda car available, which was in Errill, in Tipperary. It arrived three hours after the accident. The car the lady was in was written off. A garda did not come for three hours by which time there was a long backlog of traffic. There should be co-operation among all Garda stations. If an accident occurs within two minutes of a Garda station, the gardaí at that station should attend the accident. An elderly man had to direct traffic for nearly two hours. That is unacceptable. I call on the Minister to address that issue.