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Callous cut to elderly alarm scheme could put lives at risk

10 January, 2013 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, is scathing in his response to the budget cut by the government to the Senior Alert Scheme, which has been reduced by over 50%.

Stanley said “This sneaky cut is one of the most callous, mean and petty by this government so far. This scheme provides funding to local community groups to purchase panic alarms for vulnerable or disabled elderly people to alert neighbours, fire, gardaí or ambulance services during an emergency.

“The provision of this equipment is essential given the recent increase in burglaries and brutal attacks on elderly citizens around the country. I have been involved in one of these schemes and I have seen at first hand the enormous benefits of it. Improving home security for elderly persons living alone and having an alarm to alert neighbours gives huge peace of mind to some of the most vulnerable members of the community. This is even more vital now with the policing cutbacks and the closure of rural Garda stations. Last week a 96- year-old woman in Donegal used one of these alarms to alert a neighbour following an aggravated burglary.

“Local Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch Schemes are doing excellent work on a voluntary basis to enhance community safety. For this overpaid government to slash this important grant by 55% to save a miserly €1 million is a disgrace and they seem to be hell bent on attacking the most vulnerable. It is not overstating the case to say that this cut could be a matter of life or death for some elderly person in future.”

In conclusion Stanley said “As an opposition Spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government I intend pursuing Minister Hogan and the government on this and to do everything possible to have this important funding restored.” ENDS

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