Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (242)

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

334 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which his Department can assist with community alerts and alarms for the elderly in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3416/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

The purpose of the scheme, community support for older people is to improve the security and social support of vulnerable older people. Funding can be provided for small-scale physical security equipment such as strengthening of doors and windows, window locks, door chains and locks and security lighting, the once-off cost of installing socially monitored alarm systems such as the "panic button" pendant which is worn around the neck or wrist and operated via the telephone. Funding is not provided for burglar or smoke alarms.

To qualify for assistance under the scheme, people aged 65 or over must be living alone or in households made up exclusively of older people, or of older and other people who are dependent and vulnerable and be unable to install or purchase the security equipment or alarm system themselves. This funding is provided by way of grant aid to voluntary groups and organisations that have undertaken to identify those elderly people in need of assistance under the scheme. Any voluntary or community-based organisation working with, or providing support for, vulnerable older people can apply. Grants are not made to individuals under this scheme. Details of all organisations funded under the 2003 scheme of community support for older people are available on the Department's website,www.pobail.ie. Individual applicants may contact any of these groups who will apply on their behalf to the Department for a grant. The scheme for 2004 will be advertised in the national and provincial newspapers soon.