Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A clearly rattled Taoiseach, Brian ‘Biffo’ Cowen, made desperate attempts this morning to assuage rising public anger against his Government’s mean-spirited proposal to deprive senior citizens over 70 years of the automatic right to a free medical services card in the name of financial necessity, which was a lie from the beginning.
(Photo: the scene at St Andrews Church, Dublin today)
Facing public odium and a revolt by backbench TD’s, a resignation of one of them and the withdrawal of support from one of the independents formerly supporting the Government, modifications were announced to the original blanket withdrawal of cover with an increase of the income thresholds but retaining a means test for any new applicants in 2009. This cynical sleight-of-hand manoeuvre, clearly a political move to damp down the internal party revolt, which would still allow a future budget to withdraw these so-called concessions at a whim, was rejected by a crowded meeting organised by

Age Action Ireland today.

The meeting, called for a city centre hotel, soon overflowed and was removed to St Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, close to the Dáil, where over 2,000 people turned up to denounce the Government’s actions in vigorous terms. Minister of State, John Moloney, who arrived to deliver the Government’s concessions was howled off the platform by an extremely angry gathering, and in unprecedented scenes, speaker after speaker denounced Cowen’s Scrooge Government and its arrogance amid mounting tension. Opposition leaders who arrived, Labour Leader Éamonn Gilmore and Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny, were cheered to the rafters. The clear mood of the meeting, reinforced by radio reports all morning, was that the Government concessions were “too little, too late”. Radio reports from all over the country indicate that Wednesday’s (22.10.08) demonstration outside Dáil Éireann will go ahead with increased determination to force a complete withdrawal by Biffo’s shambling government and a restoration of the status quo without any equivocation.

Minister of State, John Moloney, TD, is confronted by an angry pensioner at the Age Action Ireland protest meeting in Dublin today
despite the announcement of Government concessions on income thresholds and exclusion of existing over 70's medical card holders from the budget proposals.

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 21 Deire Fomhair/October

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