Sinn Féin’s candidate for the EU Midlands North West constituency Cllr. Matt Carthy has described the budget cut to the Telephone Allowance as “a lousy act”. He said he was concerned at the impact of the cut to the Telephone Allowance will have, particularly on elderly isolated rural dwellers.
“The Government’s decision in yesterday’s budget to abolish the Telephone Allowance for the elderly was a lousy act. I believe it was short sighted and ill thought through.
“For many elderly people the telephone is a necessity, therefore this cut may as well be a reduction in the Old Age Pension. I know that in many rural communities isolation is an increasing problem particularly for the elderly who are living alone. This is an especially pertinent issue the midlands, border and western regions where local services have been decimated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael led governments and where emigration is on the increase. Many of these people live in areas where there is little or no Garda presence and they rely on the landline for their personal alarm. For many their telephone is their link with the outside world, it is how they keep in touch with family members including those who have been forced to emigrate.
“This move will increase stress and fear for the elderly and that is unacceptable. Some will be left with a choice of disconnecting their phone or cutting back on other expenditures such as heating for their home. That is some legacy for Fine Gael and Labour to deliver to the elderly people of our communities.
“The cut the telephone allowance was bad decision. It needs to be reversed immediately.”