Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Free travel scheme should not be reviewed - Kelly

Cllr Anthony Kelly has said that Minister Joan Burtons review of the free travel scheme should not go ahead.  The Sinn Féin councillor has called on local Labour party reps to petition the Minister to rule out making any cuts or adding restrictions to the scheme in Decembers budget, saying that the unconfirmed rumours about possible cuts were causing huge worry to the most vulnerable citizens; the elderly and disabled.

"The free travel scheme should not be reviewed," Cllr Kelly said, "The scheme is an integral part of the lives of many of the most vulnerable citizens in this state.  Many pensioners and people with disabilities rely upon it to reach hospital appointments and carry out their weekly errands.  It is nonsensical that a government 'working group' is reviewing the value of a scheme that it priceless to those who need it most."

"Minister Burton has been incredibly reckless in her handling of this situation.  She has said that pensioners should not be 'enormously worried' about changes to the scheme, yet she has refused to rule out cuts to it.  Are the Minister and her Labour party so out of touch with ordinary citizens that they can't see the fear and panic that they are causing to the dependent people who rely upon this scheme?"

"This is yet another example of the government moving in the same direction as their fianna fail predecessors by cutting the most needy instead of making those who can afford to pay more do so.  How can this government rule out a wealth tax on high earners or a cap on politicians wages when they are happy to consider cutting things like the free travel scheme for pensioners, the children's allowance and rent supplement?"

"I would call upon local Labour party reps to petition Minister Burton to rule out making any adverse changes to the free travel allowance scheme, and to make a speedy public announcement on her intentions towards the scheme.  People are worried and they should be told now, one way or the other, what the Minister plans to do with this crucial scheme on budget day."

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