Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 13 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Security of the Elderly.

342. Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the funding arrangements, if any, his Department has in place for the provision of alarm pendants to elderly persons in rural areas by organisation including the St. Vincent de Paul Society; if the provisions are subject to a quota per community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19387/98]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): My Department operates the scheme of community support for older people which was established by this Department in 1996 to address the security needs of vulnerable older people in the community.

Under the scheme, grants are made available to voluntary organisations such as Muintir na Tíre, Community Alert, Neighbourhood Watch, which have undertaken to identify the older people in the community in need of the scheme's services.

[228] Under the scheme grants are available for small-scale physical security equipment such as strengthening of doors and windows, window locks, door chains and locks and security lighting and socially-monitored alarm systems.

Funding is not available for conventional burglar alarms under this scheme.

Older people, aged 65 or over, who live alone or in households made up exclusively of older and-or other dependent vulnerable people and who are unable to install or purchase the equipment concerned themselves can benefit from the scheme.

The maximum grant available under this scheme is 90 per cent of the cost and grants are provided only towards the once-off cost of the purchase and-or installation of the necessary equipment. However the actual amount of the grant that can be made available to individual groups varies in the light of individual circumstances and needs and the overall demands which must be met.