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 Header Item Children First Bill 2014: Report and Final Stages (Continued)
 Header Item Social Services and Support: Motion [Private Members]

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 887 No. 1

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  Bill, as amended, received for final consideration and passed.

Social Services and Support: Motion [Private Members]

Deputy Tom Fleming: Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming I move:

“That Dáil Éireann:

calls on the Government to:

— implement a range of policies that are favourable to senior citizens to maintain independent living;

— provide the supports and services to assist people to continue to live in their own homes;

— in light of the upturn in the economy, prioritise the household benefits package including the electricity/gas allowance and the free television licence among other measures;

— continue to maintain the free travel scheme and the Christmas bonus;

— ensure that home help hours be maintained in line with demand so as older people can age in the community;

— invest in the Health Service Executive community care and community mental health services;

— ensure that:

— the living alone increase continues to reflect the cost of living; and

— the carer’s allowance and the half-rate carer’s allowance be maintained and recognise the value of the respite supports; and

— acknowledge the importance of:

— the household adaptation grant for people with a disability, housing aid for older persons scheme and home insulation and energy saving for older people living at home; and

— maintaining and enhancing rural community bus services.”

I propose to share time with Deputies John Halligan, Maureen O'Sullivan and Finian McGrath.

  Over the past six years, changes in public services such as home help hours and community nursing units, reductions in the fuel allowance, cuts in the household benefit package, the abolition of the Christmas bonus and increases in prescription charges, as well as decreased front-line staff and services in the health care sector, have all adversely affected older people and have fallen very heavily on poorer groups without the income to compensate. In particular, the changes have affected poorer people with disabilities or illness. International experts have identified that spending on public health and on the over-65s will have fallen by approximately 32% between 2009 and 2016. Supports that enable people to live at home need to be part of a broader integrated approach that ensures appropriate access to and discharge from acute services when required. To achieve this, the specific deficits in infrastructure that exist across the country need to be addressed urgently. There should be an emphasis on replacement or refurbishment of facilities. If this is not done, the inappropriate admission of older people to acute care facilities will continue, along with the consequent negative effects on acute services and unnecessary stress on older people and their families.

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