Tuesday, 5 November 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
711. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 479 of 17 April 2002, when the necessary grant aid will be made available to groups providing alarms for the elderly. [19882/02]
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): The organisation referred to by the Deputy in his earlier parliamentary question is one of the voluntary organisations which have submitted applications for funding in recent years. I can confirm that applications for 2002 from this organisation have been recently received in various regional offices of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. My Department is examining material submitted recently by the organisation in respect of outstanding accounts for previously paid grants. Representatives from my Department are engaged in ongoing communication with the organisation mentioned in this regard. My Department will begin processing 2002 applications from this organisation when it is satisfied that all outstanding information has been supplied.
712. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the funding which is available from his Department for schemes for the elderly; the criteria involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19964/02]
Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Mr. N. Ahern): My Department operates the scheme of community support for older people, the purpose of which is to improve the security and social support of vulnerable older people. This funding is provided by way of grant aid to voluntary groups and organisations who have undertaken to identify those elderly people in need of assistance under the scheme. Since its commencement in 1996, a total of €32.5 million has been allocated to this scheme which, to the end of 2001, has assisted some 89,136 individuals. A total of €4.4 million has been provided for the scheme in 2002.
Under the terms of the scheme, grants are provided for small-scale physical security equipment, such as strengthening of doors and windows, window locks, door chains and door locks and security lighting and socially-monitored alarms systems such as the “panic button” pendant which is worn around the neck or wrist and operated via the telephone. To be eligible for grant aid under the scheme, individuals must be aged 65 and over and living alone or living in households made up exclusively of older people, or of older people and other people who are dependent and vulnerable and are unable to install or purchase the equipment concerned themselves. In general, grants under the scheme cover 50% of the once-off cost of the purchase and/or installation of the  necessary security equipment but grants of up to 90% may be made where the circumstances so warrant.
Any voluntary or community based organisation working with or providing support for vulnerable older people may apply for grant aid. Individual people who wish to obtain information on how they, or older people known to them, can obtain assistance under this scheme should contact their local representative of any of the organisations involved in the scheme, such as, Muintir na Tíre, Neighbourhood Watch, Community Alert, or any other group involved in the scheme in their local area.
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