I am standing for election in May as I believe the people want representatives who will stand up and protect them from the unjust and unfair actions of this Government.
This Government has systematically reduced the incomes of older people by underhand cuts in allowances and entitlements including the complete axing of the telephone allowance, levying a new property tax, removing the bereavement grant and imposing punitive extra charges for medical card prescriptions. These cuts amount to an actual reduction in older people’s incomes of at least €1,000 per annum which is the same as robbing their pensions for 5 weeks every year. In addition they have systematically taken away medical cards from thousands of elderly people over the age of 70 yrs despite their alleged opposition to this when the previous Government first began to do so. It is completely unacceptable that older people are treated with such callous disrespect and it is vital that elected representatives be ready to stand up and speak up for older people when this Government attempts to inflict further pain on them.
The Government also plans to change our health service to an insurance based model which will effectively cap public funding of the health service and put the burden on ordinary people by forcing every person to have compulsory private health insurance which could cost €1600 per person per year. The result of this policy would be to deny health care to those who can’t afford to pay for it. I believe this policy will be rejected by the people and elected representatives should do all they can to ensure it never sees the light of day.
This Government also intends to charge every household approximately €500 every year for water but with no consideration for ability to pay. The decision to give responsibility for setting the price of water to the Energy Regulator and Irish Water is a cynical attempt to pretend that the Government has nothing to do with it. Here in Wicklow, we have further reasons to be aggrieved because Wicklow water will be used to supply a large part of the Greater Dublin area and yet County Wicklow and its people will not receive one extra cent in return for the supply of this precious resource.
If elected, I will stand up and speak out for the people of this county whenever and wherever I believe their interests are being threatened.
Joe Behan. Independent Candidate for Bray, Enniskerry and Kilmacanogue.