The decision by Cabinet to approve an increased qualifying threshold for medical cards for those over 70, will benefit 56,000 older people in Clare and across the county.

Welcoming the announcement, local Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said: “I am delighted that this has been passed by Cabinet and will now give certainty to those over 70 seeking to apply for a medical card.

“The changes, which were first introduced in Budget 2020 by the previous Fine Gael government will see the qualifying eligible income for those applying for medical increase for a single person over 70 from €500 to €550 and for a couple over 70 from €900 to €1,050.

“Those over 70 or approaching this age were given an assurance in the previous budget that this change would be delivered. I welcome the decision to take action in this regard, it will benefit numerous people.”

In addition to the increased qualifying threshold for medical cards for the over 70’s, the Government has also put in place reduced prescription charges and a lower maximum amount payable under the Drugs Payment Scheme, which also result from Budget 2020.

Fine Gael’s newly appointed health spokesperson Colm Burke added: “People will also benefit from reduced prescription charges. Prescription charges for medical card holders will be reduced to €1.50 and €1 for those over 70.

“Furthermore, the maximum an individual will pay per month under the Drugs Payment Scheme has been reduced to €114.

”In uncertain times, we must give clarity and support to those who need it. The Government today has done this for countless people and its benefits will be widely felt.”