German chancellor Angela Merkel is used to dealing with senior Government figures on a daily basis but the prospect of receiving correspondence from a Dervock resident would certainly have raised her eyebrows.
Steven Phillips, a political activist with the TUV, has sent a letter to one of the most powerful figures in the EU berating her country for helping bail out Spain with funding that provides pensioners with up to 50 per cent off holidays.
He has also lobbied MEP, Dianne Dodds complaining about the fact that Spain, one of the so-called ‘sick men of Europe’ receives subsidies with a large proportion coming from Germany.
“Everyone else is caught up with harsh austerity measures and here in Northern Ireland we have pensioners, disabled people, families on low income and unemployed who have to choose to ‘heat or eat’ while the Spanish go on holidays subsidised by their government up to 50%,” he said.
“This money should be spent to reduce their EU Debt and reduce their liability to the other EU member states which the UK is one.
“Our taxes of which we have too many, go to fund this crazy holiday scheme.
“What about equality? I’m sure our OAP’s etc. here could do with half price holiday,” Mr Phillips said.
The holiday scheme, Imerso, for pensioners is sponsored by the Spanish Government.
During the off-peak season, from October to June, cheaper holidays are made available to resident pensioners in Spain, whatever their nationality.
There are many different destinations available from mainland Spain to the Balearics, Canary Islands and Portugal. Your holiday can be from 8, 10 or 15 days long and includes full board at three and four star hotels. There are also 5 day cultural tours and rural tourism holidays available.
Who is eligible?
The programme is open to anyone who is a resident of Spain and:
Over the age of 65
Aged 55 or over and receiving a widow’s pension
Aged 60 or over and receiving a government invalidity pension or early retirement pension
You can take a companion too - they don’t have to be a pensioner.
What does each holiday include?
Transport to and from the capital city of the province where you live (for example, Alicante) to the hotel
Full board in a double or single room (with supplement)
Group Travel Insurance
National Health medical attention in the hotel*
Three/four star hotels that comply with govt standards