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    New moves on free travel for older emigrants?

    By Noreen Bowden | July 11, 2007

    Older emigrants living in Britain may soon be getting access to free travel in Ireland, according to a report in the Irish Post. The newspaper reports that leading politicians have promised that the issue is being prioritised to be addressed when the Irish Government reconvenes after the summer holidays.

    Emigrant advocates have been campaigning on this issue for years, and while there appears to be much goodwill toward the idea among politicians, there have been difficulties in implementing a plan.  Last year, then-Minister Seamus Brennan attempted to introduce a provision that would have allowed for free travel for those abroad who were receiving an Irish pension; the EU Commission rejected the proposal as discriminatory. Currently residents of the island of Ireland are entitled to the free travel scheme once they reach 66.  

    Most campaigners want to see free travel introduced for all Irish nationals who have reached pension age. The newspaper quotes a Department for Social and Family Affairs spokesperson:

    “The Government will examine the introduction of free travel for Irish citizens of pension age, particularly those resident in Britain, when visiting Ireland and press the European Commission to examine a similar EU-wide scheme.”

     The paper notes the free travel campaign is backed by the Green Party, a coalition government party, and the opposition Labour Party.

     The issue was one of those that loomed largest at the Irish Pensioners Consultation and Conference Day recently organised by the Irish Elderly Advice Service at the London Irish Centre.

    Read the full reports on the Irish Post website:

    Topics: Britain, elderly, free travel, Latest News, social welfare | No Comments »