23 October 2008 Edition

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Mála Poist

Medical Card controversy – another view

THE government undoubtedly made a cock-up of the medical card issue in the most recent budget causing much unnecessary fear and anxiety among our elderly.
However, I cannot in all consciousness support the demand that the remaining 5% of those now excluded from the medical card scheme be included. The new threshold for qualification for a medical card for over-70s is €700 a week for a single person, equivalent to €36,500 a year and €1,400 a week for a couple, or €73,000 a year. By any standards that is a comfortable income.
I will not be taking to the streets demanding that the government move now to ensure that retired High Court judges or tycoons like Tony O’Reilly be allowed retain medical cards.
The fact remains that when you take from the public purse to give to those who can pay for themselves you are taking from those who cannot.
Many of the people who are now included in the medical card scheme have their homes paid for, enjoy free travel courtesy of the taxpayer and have none of the outgoings of hard pressed working families or the thousands of working poor in our society.
Some of our most marginalised communities witness very early mortality rates. There is a direct link between poverty and early death. Some of our citizens won’t see their 70s at all due to their economic situation and many of these do not qualify for the medical card. Who is taking to the streets on their behalf?
Dublin 11.



Confronting drugs scourge

ONE of the most disturbing issues facing families in Ardoyne in recent times has been the alarming rise of drug abuse. That has led to a surge in criminality, house-breaking, robberies, kidnappings and anti-social activity.
Given these facts, scores of residents recently met and agreed to address this issue. As a result, a steering-committee was elected and a new group called Concerned Families Against Drugs was established.
In an attempt to raise awareness about the damage, drugs is causing to countless families within this community we recently held a public meeting to ask fellow residents how best to deal with these ongoing problems.
Concerned families Against Drugs are currently in the process of adopting a radical approach to stop drugs barons destroying lives. Our next step is to also consult other groups and community leaders and to ensure proper resources are made available to families in need.
Afterwards, we will hold another public meeting. Where residents will be notified how we intend proceeding. In the meantime, we urge families to stop turning a blind eye to those selling and using drugs.
Concerned Families Against Drugs,


School inspections – change in law needed

TODAY I contacted my local Environmental Health office who are part of South Dublin County Council and I was very pleasantly surprised with the courtesy shown. I wanted them to carry out a survey at my local school in Clondalkin and have the dampness measured in the classrooms. I was told that the Environmental Health office does not have the power of entry to any school and can only offer its service, if this school so requests.
Naturally I contacted the school asking them to do so. It is time that this law was changed so that parents concerns are answered and we don’t have to wait until our schools act
Dublin 22

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1