There has been an angry reaction to the news that the government has halved the budget for personal security alarms provided to the elderly to enable them to live independently.
Age Action Ireland spokesman, Eamon Timmins said the cuts would make life harder for older people. “These cuts will undermine the ability of some older people to continue living independently in their own homes, denying them alarms which would provide them with peace of mind,” he said.
And the Carers’ Association described the cuts as “yet another example of hitting the most vulnerable in society”.
Government grants for the alarms, intended to assist older people to live independently in greater safety, have dropped from €2.45 million last year to €1.15 million.
The grants allow community groups to provide alarms under the Seniors Alert scheme. An average of 7,900 alarms annually have been supplied in the last three years.
Vanessa Clarke of Community Alert said the decision to only provide grants to people living on their own this year has caused outrage in the community. “The main aspect of the cuts that has caused outrage is that only an elderly person living on their own can apply for the grant. Elderly couples or siblings living together are no longer eligible.”