Independent Ardee Town Councillor Jim Tenanty has added his voice to the growing protest over the impact of the budget on pensioners.
The over-70 medical card cuts, the telephone allowance cuts and the reduction of the bereavement grant, is hitting not just the elderly but also younger relatives and family members.
Cllr Tenanty said that as a councillor and funeral director he is very aware of the impact the scrapping of the bereavement grant will have on people.
“The €850 bereavement grant has been a lifeline for bereaved families.
“There are many people who can’t afford a simple burial. But this affects everyone who has to look after family burials.”
The average cost of a burial in the mid-Louth area is €3,500. So the cutting of the €850 bereavement grant is a substantial.
But Cllr Tenanty is also critical of the other cuts that have affected the elderly, including telephone and medical cards.
“Last week 10,000 pensioners protested outside the Dail demanding a fair deal after the cuts meted out to them in the budget.
“Older people have already been hit by the previous austerity budgets.
“There have been cuts to home help care, respite care, the fuel allowance, and there has been rising drug costs and an increase in energy bills,” he said.
The Sinn Fein member of Ardee Town Council Pearse McGeough has also criticised the the ending of the telephone allowance and the bereavement grant.
“This is hitting the most vulnerable people in our society, and it is also isolating people even more,” Cllr McGeough said.
“It also leaves people open to money lenders.
“The lowering of the threshold for medical cards means many elderly people will lose their cards. Even if they qualify for free GP visit cards they will still be forced to for their medication.”