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.

In reply to parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen, the Government revealed the full scale of their cuts targeting older people across the country.

“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 number of grants reduced from 7,138 in 2010 to just 1,739 so far in 2013,” explained Deputy Cowen.

“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.

“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 in an area goes towards local services in that area. Local authority finances are under severe pressure and they are struggling 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 it promised would fund local services”.