Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Questions (203)

Timmy Dooley


203. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when a person (details supplied) who has a fully operational landline will be provided with the panic button they applied for some months ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37789/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable them to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. The scheme is operated on my Department's behalf by Pobal, via a nationwide network of community organisations.

Following a review, a new version of the scheme was launched on 1st November 2017. A number of important new changes were introduced, including an extension of the eligibility criteria to include older people who live on their own for long periods during the day, and the introduction of free monitoring for the first year, following which a small charge will apply.

One of the eligibility requirements of the scheme is that the applicant is able to benefit from the equipment supplied.

I understand that the application by the person concerned was received by Pobal on 9 August 2019 and was approved the same day.  Following receipt of a call from the applicant, the supplier followed up the application with the community organisation on 5 September asking for details to be forwarded.  An engineer attended the installation on Monday 9 September.  However, technical difficulties were encountered in installing the system.  Neither the engineer nor the applicant’s telephone provider were able to establish a connection, as an analogue connection is required to install the landline unit.

A number of potential solutions have been proposed to the applicant to be able to avail of the scheme. Where a suitable landline connection is not available, a mobile GSM unit can be installed. This would incur a cost to keep the SIM card in credit similar to the cost incurred for fixed line rental on a landline.