Thursday, 2 December 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
139. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will include people under 65 who are wheelchair bound in the scheme which provides personal alarms to senior citizens through local community organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25720/99]
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): My Department has, since 1996, operated the scheme of community support for older people, the purpose of which is to provide funding for initiatives to improve the  security and social support of vulnerable older people. This funding is provided by way of grant to voluntary groups and organisations who have undertaken to identify those elderly people in need of assistance under the scheme.
Since its inception in 1996 a total of £12.6 million has been made available for this scheme and up to the end of 1998 some 56,000 people had been assisted by the scheme. A further £5 million has been made available for this scheme in 1999 and applications received are currently being processed in the regional offices of my Department.
Under the scheme grants are only available to people aged 65 and over who are living alone or living in households made up exclusively of older people, or of older people who are dependent and vulnerable are unable to install or purchase the equipment concerned themselves.
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