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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 23 November, 2014

‘Grants for the elderly have been cut to the bone by this government’

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said the number of grants reduced from 7,138 in 2010 to 1,739 so far in 2013.

STATISTICS REVEALED FROM a parliamentary question by Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen shows that the number of of grants for the elderly reduced from 7,138 in 2010 to just 1,739 so far in 2013.

“The government has drastically reduced the number of grants paid out for the Housing Aid for the Older Persons Scheme since it came into power,” said Cowen, who added that the figures revealed show the full scale of the cuts targeting older people across the country.

Grants

The figures detail the numbers of grants paid each year together with the monies recouped to the local authorities since 2010 in respect the Housing Aid for Older People (HAOP) and the Mobility Aids Grant (MAG).

These schemes, introduced in November 2007, are funded by 80 per cent recoupments available from my Department together with a 20 per cent contribution from the resources of the local authority.

In Dublin City Council the figures show that the HAOP grants in 2010 came to 527  - €1,481,399. This fell to 246 in 2011 – €875,136, falling to 182 in 2012 –  €656,383 and further falling to 75 to the end of October this year, at €324,114.

Details of the numbers of grants paid each year together with the monies recouped to the local authorities since 2010 are set out in the following tables:

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If you can’t see these figures, please click here.

Speaking about the figures, Cowen said “Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is a vital support to help older people adapt their homes to their physical circumstances”.

He added:

The rapid decline over the past three years has meant many older people are not getting the support they need to live in the homes they have worked all their lives for.

The Government has failed to provide real resources to allow older people make the changes they need to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible.

Many people require only modest supports to continue living independently and securely close to their families and friends. These cut backs jeopardise that.

He said he was also concerned that the Environment Minister Phil Hogan is “back-tracking on his promise to ensure that 80 per cent of the property tax collected in an area goes towards local services in that area,” stating that local authority finances are struggling to come up with their 20 per cent of the costs of housing aid supports.

Read: NUIG recruiting participants aged 64 and over to test system that detects falls>

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