CANDIDATES will have to earn the votes of half a million older people in the General Election, according to an alliance of organisations representing the views of Ireland’s older citizens.
The Earn Our Vote campaign is challenging all of Clare’s election candidates to prove that they represent the needs of older people, by committing to implement three key policies, if they are elected to Government.
The Earn Our Vote alliance is comprised of Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age and Opportunity, ALONE, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Active Ageing Partnership and Third Age Ireland.
The Earn Our Vote campaign is centred on three central policy demands. The campaign is calling for the appointment of a Cabinet-level Minister for Older People to implement the National Positive Ageing Strategy.
The alliance is also looking for support for older people to remain healthy and engaged within their communities for longer, through interventions and investment in primary care and care in the community.
In addition, calls are being made to increase the State Pension and reverse cuts to the Household Benefits Package.
According to the last Census, Ireland has more than half a million people over the age of 65.
In what is likely to be a very close election, where every vote will matter, older voters will play a decisive role in the outcome of the election.
Earn Our Vote is calling on older voters to challenge the candidates, who call to their door, on the issues which impact on their lives.
According to an Earn Our Vote spokesperson, “A vote is a personal but very impactful thing. Voters should not underestimate the power of their vote. Politicians should never take that vote for granted.
“A vote should not simply be given away, it should be earned. That is the very simple message that we are trying to spread to voters and candidates.
“We have come through an appalling recession. Very difficult cuts were made to all groups and older people on low fixed-incomes were particularly badly affected. In addition to the cuts, the recession caused many important policy decisions to be set aside.
“Now that the country has emerged from this recession, Ireland needs to plan for a future where it makes proper provisions for its older population.
“Ireland should be a place where this generation of older people, and the generations of older people to come, can grow old with dignity, playing an active role in their communities, with access to the services that they need.
“We are asking parties to commit to making Ireland the best small country in the world in which to grow old,” the spokesperson added.
According to the spokesperson, the group will be taking the time to ensure that those candidates and parties that sign up to the campaign are publicly recognised for doing so.
Campaign updates will be given through the media, social media and on the campaign website, Earnourvote.ie.
They will be tweeting via the Twitter account EarnOurVote16 and dedicated hashtag #EarnOurVote2016.