As regards the VAT charge on the installation and operation of security systems, EU VAT law, with which Irish VAT law must comply, requires that VAT apply to the supply of these goods and services regardless of the status of the user of the service. It is not, therefore, open to me to remove VAT from the installation or maintenance charges for alarms for senior citizens. There is, however, the Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 15) Order, 1981, administered by the Revenue Commissioners, which provides for refunds of VAT in respect of certain goods for use by disabled people. Under this order, it is possible to obtain a refund of VAT on the purchase of personal alarms by or on behalf of a disabled or elderly person, normally used as medical alert systems and which are triggered by a pendant worn by the person concerned.
The Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs operates a 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 elderly people in the community. This scheme was established in 1996 on foot of the recommendations of the task force on security for the elderly.