Sinn Féin Justice and Equality Spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has expressed outrage at news that the government has halved the budget for personal security alarms provided to the elderly to enable them to live independently.
The vital importance of the alarms was proven once again in recent days following the robbery and attack on 96 year old Margaret Lilly in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, only 100 yards from Deputy Mac Lochlainn's home. It is believed that Ms Lilly may not have survived the attack had it not been for the fact she activated her personal alarm.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“This is a shocking and mean spirited decision by the government. It is an attack on some of our most vulnerable citizens and must be reversed immediately.
“This government will close 143 Garda stations. They have slashed Garda numbers and reduced the number of Garda vehicles. And now they halve the budget for personal security alarms for the elderly.
“These alarms give security assurance to our senior citizens and they also allow them to live independently, safe in the knowledge that support in the event if an emergency is only the press of a button away.
“The Seniors Alert Scheme has operated successfully over recent years and that is why all of the organisations who represent the elderly have condemned this decision.
“The shocking attack on my 96 year old neighbour, Margaret Lilly, has demonstrated the life-saving importance of these alarms and this scheme. The government needs to increase the budget not halve it.”