Dáil Éireann - Volume 512 - 07 December, 1999

Written Answers - EU Directives.

224. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Health and Children the EU directive, if any, which ordains that citizens of the EU over 60 years of age are entitled to free medication; the reason this country has not implemented this or sought a derogation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26048/99]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): I am not aware of an EU directive stating that persons over 60 must be provided with medication free of charge.

Arrangements under EU regulations supercede the provisions of the Irish eligibility system in respect of certain categories of nationals of other EU states. Where this situation arises health boards are obliged to provide health services, on the same basis as to medical card holders, to these people on behalf of their home state, which retains responsibility for the costs involved in the provision of the services.

Under EU Regulation 1408/71, persons taking up permanent residence in Ireland who are in [742] receipt of a social security pension from another EU member state, who are not in receipt of an Irish Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs pension, as either a recipient or dependant and are not employed or self-employed here are entitled to health services free of charge. In such cases a medical card is granted. Otherwise, they are entitled to health services on the same basis as persons normally resident here, that is, on means.