No change in budget medical card measures, says Kenny

SF leader calls for general election in heated Dáil exchanges

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has  said even after the budget changes, at least 93 per cent of persons ov
 
er 70 would still have access to a GP card. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said even after the budget changes, at least 93 per cent of persons ov er 70 would still have access to a GP card. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said there will be no change in the budget provisions relating to medical cards for the over-70s.

“Eighty-five per cent of the over-70s will still retain their medical cards,’’ he added. “Those who do not have a medical card will have the GP card.’’

He said that even after the budget changes, at least 93 per cent of persons over 70 would still have access to a GP card.

Mr Kenny said that since the beginning of this year, 20,000 new medical cards had been issued on a discretionary basis, adding that a significant number of those people were well in excess of the guidelines set down.

He said there would be a clarification of the guidelines, given that there were clearly variations on how cards were allocated.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil today to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said it was very clear that the Government’s policy choices impacted far more severely upon children, sick people and the older population.

Amid heated exchanges, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called for a general election, because the Government had no mandate for what it was doing. “Why do you not do the right thing, go to the people and let the people have their say?” he added.

Mr Kenny said Mr Adams had gone to the United States to get health care. He added that the Government had retained many social welfare rates at a time when it had to deal with an unprecedented economic mess and he would continue with his mandate.

Independent TD Clare Daly said the Government had consistently stripped away the rights and entitlements of people. This was because of the Government’s “ridiculous pursuit of the ideas of neo-liberalism’’.