18th November 2013
By TheCork.ie Politics Reporter
The Government has drastically reduced the number of grants paid out
for the Housing Aid for the Older Persons Scheme in Cork since it came
In reply to parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil, the Government
revealed the full scale of their cuts targeting older people in Cork
city and county.
Deputy Micheál Martin explained, “The Housing Aid for Older Persons
Scheme is a vital support to help older people adapt their homes to
their physical circumstances. The Government has cut this support to
the bone, with the funding for these grants in Cork city and county
cut from over €5 million in 2010 to €787,592 so far in 2013.
“The number of grants in Cork has been cut from 1,081 to 209 although
all claims for 2013 have may not yet have been received. Nationally,
the figures have plummeted from 7,178 grants in 2010 to 1,739 so far
in 2013. This is despite the fact that we have an aging population so
the demand will have increased. Instead, what we have seen is a rapid
decline over the past three years, meaning many older people across
Cork 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.
“This is yet another local service that is under threat due to
cutbacks from this Government. The Environment Minister Phil Hogan is
back-tracking on his promise to ensure that 80% of the property tax
collected by Cork City and County Councils goes towards local services
in that area. Cork City and County Councils are under severe financial
pressure at the moment, and along with everything else they will
struggle to come up with their 20% of the costs of housing aid
supports. Yet the Government is now denying them income from the
property tax that it promised would fund local services”.