Older citizens are assertive


Sir, – William Reville, in an otherwise interesting and thought-provoking article (“Blanket cocooning for over-70s has done more harm than good”, Science, May 21st), claimed that, “Older people are not seen as a sector that aggressively asserts its rights”.

You could have fooled me.

Irish pensioners fought tooth and nail in 2008 to retain their universal right to medical cards. Younger adults never enjoyed this right, despite the fact that many of them are much poorer than pensioners. The rate of payment for the non-contributory pension is €237 per week while it is €203 per week for jobseeker’s allowance. Pensioners enjoy more favourable treatment for a range of other state benefits and for income tax and the universal social charge. This is despite the fact that the boom in property prices in the Celtic Tiger era resulted in a transfer of wealth from the young to the old and the recession in 2008 had a worse effect on younger people.

Older people, for a group who don’t “aggressively assert their rights”, have been remarkably successful in obtaining preferential treatment from the State. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.