The government decison to reverse the cuts to the Senior Alerts Scheme has been widely welcome in South Tipperary with supporters of the move saying it will maintain safety for senior cititizens.
The planned cuts would have meant that many new applicants would not receive grant aid towards the provision of monitored personal alarms and an elderly couple both over the age of 65 would have been ineligible to apply.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has complimented the Minister for the Environment for his understanding of the importance of this scheme and for making the decision to reverse the cuts.
“This is a vital service and has never been more needed. Elderly people are living in fear in their homes and with the on-going closures of Garda Stations and cuts to Home Help Hours, they need to know that they can make immediate contact with someone in the case of an emergency.” said Deputy McGrath
He also complimented the Board of Muintir Na Tíre who oversee the implementation of the scheme nationally and who met with Minister Hogan on Saturday morning to stress the importance of the scheme.
“Muintir Na Tíre do wonderful work ensuring the safety of the elderly in each and every community throughout the country through their Community Alert Groups and they know first-hand how important this scheme is. Volunteers within the Community Alert Groups are on the front line and they know what devastating effects this cut would have had if it had been forced through.”
“It is important that our elderly citizens feel safe in their own home and I would like to thank Minister Hogan for reversing this cut. I would also like to pay tribute to each and every Community Alert member throughout the country who volunteer their time fitting these monitored alarm phones and ensuring that our elderly can continue to live safely in their homes” concluded McGrath
Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes also welcomed the Governments commitment to maintain the funding for personal security alarms for older people.
He said - “The scheme costs €2.45m and the decision to reduce this year’s spending to €1.15m has been withdrawn.
“This is the correct decision and will help provide security and peace of mind for older people
“The Minister gave a commitment last week to keep the matter under review and I am delighted he listened to me and others who wanted the funding maintained
“The Department of the Environment manages the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages and assists the community’s support for older people by means of a community-based grant scheme to enable older people over 65 years of age, without sufficient means, to continue to live securely in their home with confidence, independence and peace of mind. The Scheme is administered by local community and Muintir Na Tire here in Tipperary with the support of the Department.
“The eligibility criterion will revert to the same applied in 2012. The scheme will not just be restricted to elderly people living on their own.
Meanwhile Tipperary based Board member and National Secretary of Muintir na Tíre, Martin Lonergan welcomed the government’s decision to reverse the cut in funding to the Seniors Alert Scheme.
He said - “This scheme has provided older and vulnerable persons across Tipperary with a greater sense of security and peace of mind in their homes over the years. The drastic reduction of almost 53% in funding would have resulted in many new applicants not receiving grant aid towards the provision of monitored personal alarms. New criteria which were also to be introduced would have meant that an elderly couple both over the age of 65 would have been ineligible to apply. This would have been, quite frankly, unacceptable.
“At a time when burglaries on the elderly and vulnerable are on the increase, it is extremely important that people be afforded the opportunity to apply for this essential funding. Many of Muintir na Tíre’s Community Alert Groups avail of supports through this scheme for their communities on almost a weekly basis. Units such as the personal panic alarm affords elderly people the opportunity to remain in their homes and the unit is a 24 hour link to the monitoring station, family members, neighbours the Gardaí and ultimately the emergency services if required.”
Mr Lonergan commended Minister Hogan and his Department on rescinding the cuts and welcomes the decision to restore funding to 2012 levels. “I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many volunteers, neighbours and friends who visit the older and more vulnerable members of our communities on a daily basis. This work is one of the cornerstones of the Community Alert programme,” commented Mr Lonergan.