Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed his delight that a Private Members Bill he initiated to combat instances of the financial abuse of older people has passed through the Dáil and on to Committee stage. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a majority of TD’s voted to support his Vulnerable Persons Bill 2015, 74 to 46 opposed:
“It is my sincere hope that we can further amend this Bill at Committee Stage to give clear and unequivocal assurance to any older person or indeed any vulnerable person who may be the victim of financial abuse.
I have been trying to get the government to support this issue for several years now since I first raised it as a matter of profound urgency in 2015.
Since that time I certainly acknowledge that some advances have been made; but it is my belief that this Bill will provide a renewed emphasis on the importance of keeping this issue in focus.
As I said during the Dáil debate, elder abuse is one of the most serious and vicious activities that can be perpetrated upon vulnerable persons.
It often takes place in great secrecy, hidden even from other close members of the same family who may be unaware of what is taking place.
We know parents want to help their children. They want to be able to assist them where possible, including financially.
The fundamental point at issue here is that such assistance must always be a personal choice, and one that is made free of coercion, manipulation or threats.
Where such a right to financial autonomy and the control of a person’s own finances is under threat, and where it involves brute physical, emotional or psychological pain, the State must become involved to vindicate and protect such rights.
The fact that my Bill has now been referred to the Justice Select Committee means that we are one step closer to making that ambition a reality,” concluded Deputy McGrath.