At tonight’s meeting of Clonmel Borough Council Cllr Helena McGee put forward the following Notice of Motion, supported by her WUAG colleagues, Cllr Billy Shoer, Cllr Pat English, Cllr Teresa Ryan and Cllr Brian O’Donnell:
“That Clonmel Borough Council call on An Tánaiste and Minster for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore TD to reverse the decision made in April 2011 which no longer provide Free Passport’s to those over 65 years”
Up until 2005, the fee for getting or renewing a passport for those over retirement age was €25, in 2005 this cost was waivered. Those over 65 years must since Monday 11 April 2011 pay €95, which is the new cost of a standard 10 year passport if they go to a passport office. The price is €80 if they use the passport express service from An Post.
This cost is deterring older people from renewing their passports. Across Ireland, more and more of our elderly citizens are going through great hardship at the minute, with many simply unable to heat their homes due to ever-rising fuel prices. With emigration from this country continuing to rise, many parents and grandparents want to be able to go and visit their close family members wherever they may be. However, those aged 65 and over have now been lumped with this additional cost that they could have well done without.
It is thought that around 300,000 pensioners benefitted from the initiative since 2005, a small thank you in retirement years to recognise the years of service and hard work of Ireland’s senior citizens, who have been paying taxes all their working lives.
Cllr McGee stated that she “wholeheartedly agree with Age Action Ireland that the re-introduction of the fee is ‘mean-spirited’.” Ireland has the most expensive price for a passport in the EU.
It was for this reason Cllr McGee put forward this motion which was passed by Clonmel Borough Council at tonight’s meeting.