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Unequal burden

Reports say that about 240,000 children under six years old will get free doctors’ care by the end of 2014.

At present, those children have neither a full medical card nor a GP visit card.

The Census of Population recorded just over 421,000 children aged five years or under in 2011. That means that about 181,000 children who are five years old or younger already have GP or medical cards. That’s 43% of their age group.

Between 2005 and 2011, the percentage of people in all age groups (including dependants) covered by medical cards grew from 28% to 37% of the population. The corresponding percentages covered by GP visit cards grew from zero to nearly 3%.

This implies that, for every three rich Irish people, there are another two poor people. In a true republic, the well-off majority have a social and moral obligation to help the less fortunate minority.

Michael Mernagh
Co Cork


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