Labour will reject Nursing home plans - Political Quote

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Monday, January 8, 2007

Labour will reject Nursing home plans

Labour Chief Whip Emmet Stagg TD speaking in Westport recently committed the Labour Party to reversing the proposals of the Minister for Health Mary Harney to force the sale of the homes of old people in long term care.

Deputy Stagg was addressing the members and friends of the Westport Branch as part of the celebrations marking the 55 years of service to the Labour Party by Westport Party stalwart Michael Joe Lavelle.

Deputy Stagg said: “This is the latest is a series of attacks on the elderly by the PD/ FF government. Minister Harney proposes that the family home be included in the means of an old person in care and that the debt be collected after their death.

“This is enough to put the heart cross-ways in any older citizen who is feeling unwell and we should all remember that we will all reach that stage at some time.

“The Labour Party rejects any proposal to include the family home in any means test. It is not used in calculating means for any other services, be it medical cards, pensions, or third level grants.

“Labour in government will reverse this cruel decision that is causing widespread stress and worry to our elder citizens by excluding the family home from any means test and this one in particular.

“The state has a responsibility to our senior citizens, it was they who laid the foundations of the wealthy country we now enjoy; they paid for their homes in tough times and it is now entirely unacceptable that they would be forced to dispose of them to pay their medical costs. That decision must be reversed.

“As a society we will have to decide who is entitled to medical care and who is not and we will also have to decide how it is to be funded.

“It seems this question has largely been decided for the general population. No matter how rich one is, they can get full hospital treatment with specialists, surgeons and nurses for a maximum payment of €400 a year. However if you are old and sick you have to sell your house to do so. Labour will seek to end that cruel anomaly.

“I know that Labour’s Candidate in Mayo Harry Barrett is out there campaigning on this issue which is at the heart of people’s concerns and in this he has the full support of Westport’s Councillor Keith Martin. Harry and Keith are working hard every day on behalf of the people of Mayo and I trust the people of Mayo will give Harry Barrett their full support in the upcoming election. Mayo needs a Labour TD to fight its corner on this issue and of combating the decade of neglect that Mayo has endured at the hands of this government.”

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