Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1234)

Seán Fleming

Question:

1234. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the budget allocation in 2018 and 2019 for the senior alert scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14148/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. Funding is available under the scheme for the purchase by a registered community based-organisation of a personal alarm or pendant.

Following a review, I launched a new scheme which took effect on 1 November 2017 and provides one years free monitoring to participants. A media and information campaign was organised to support the launch.

I am pleased to say that since the launch of the new Seniors Alert Scheme, the demand has been unprecedented. During 2018, over 19,200 applications were approved, with 20,288 installations completed.

My Department’s allocation for 2018 was €2.3 million. However, given the huge increase in demand for the scheme, savings were identified from other areas within my Department's allocation to ensure that all new applicants could be provided for. The total expenditure on the Seniors Alert Scheme in 2018 was €6.984 million.

The scheme’s allocation for 2019 is €2.3 million. As this is a demand led scheme, it will be kept under continuous review by myself and officials in my Department to ensure adequate funding can be made available to meet the requirements of all qualifying applicants. There is also provision under the Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan 2018, which also covers 2019, for funding to meet the additional and exceptional demands of the Scheme.