Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (236)

Mary Upton

Ceist:

327 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will amend the community scheme of community support for older people in order that his Department directly administers the scheme allowing persons to apply directly to his Department for assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3365/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

The scheme of community support for older people provides funding for a range of initiatives which give older people the security they need to live independently in the community. 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. These arrangements give a key role to voluntary organisations, create opportunities for them to develop links with older people in their areas and allow for a more flexible response to individual needs than a statutory delivery mechanism might allow. Voluntary or community-based groups seeking funding under the scheme must satisfy the defined criteria of the scheme, comply with Government tax clearance procedures and provide satisfactory accounts in respect of previously paid grants. I am anxious that this scheme continue to operate in a way that benefits the most vulnerable older people in our society. My Department is reviewing the administrative procedures which apply to the scheme in order to ensure that the needs of beneficiaries are met in a targeted and responsive manner. However, I have no plans to involve the Department in the direct administration of the scheme. The scheme for 2004 will be advertised in the national and provincial newspapers in a few months.

Question No. 328 answered with QuestionNo. 143.