Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has called on Fianna Fáil to cease their scaremongering over the Free Travel Pass and to stop purposely creating fear among older people on this issue.
“On numerous occasions, Government Ministers have confirmed that there is no threat whatsoever to the Free Travel Pass and that they will not be removed from older people. I understand that this issue was originally brought to light by Age Action, and while this is an issue they are eager to see protected, I believe that the purpose of the Government’s review of the Free Travel Pass programme was misunderstood. Regardless of this, Fianna Fáil has continued to scaremonger for no other reason than political posturing and it is unfortunate that Age Action’s campaign has been hijacked by the Fianna Fáil party for this.”
“Who do Fianna Fáil think they are? Their hypocrisy is shameless given that, when in Government they cut the blind pension, the carers’ allowance, the disability allowance, the invalidity pension and the widows’ pension, not once but twice! The local Fianna Fáil organisation hasn’t just jumped on the bandwagon, but they have again distorted the facts to suit themselves. During an economically tough time, this amounts to nothing more than playing with people’s emotions.”
“In contrast to this, the current Government has not touched the free travel pass over the last three budgets, during a time when it was necessary to reduce welfare spending, and it does not intend to change this now. Fine Gael recognises that the Free Travel Pass provides older people with a level of independence and freedom which they may not otherwise have; we understand that people have made hard sacrifices over the last few years, but this is not an area where we intend to make cuts and it is reckless of Fianna Fáil to suggest this, and to scare older people, for their own political gain.”