Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ceisteanna (17)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

17. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of expenditure in 2018 under the seniors alert scheme; the number of persons assisted under the scheme; the estimated allocation he will make under the scheme in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2920/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Oral answers (3 contributions) (Ceist ar Rural)

I am deputising for Deputy Burke who tabled this question. It relates to the status of expenditure in 2018 under the seniors alert scheme, the number of persons assisted under the scheme, and the estimated allocation that will be made under it in 2019. The Minister might make a statement on that.

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 towards 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 year's 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, more than 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 €6,984,000.

I welcome the 19,200 approvals. Everyone both inside and outside of the Oireachtas is concerned about people living alone and in isolated areas. It is very important that our senior citizens are looked after and that there is adequate funding. The Minister said there is greater demand and that everyone who received money was approved. However, is he satisfied that the moneys allocated will be sufficient for 2019? There are many other people with concerns who will apply for this and I wonder if there is adequate funding this year to cover all applicants.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.