Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Michael Moynihan TD, has rubbished suggestions elderly people will be able to use mobile phones to activate their panic buttons or home security alarms following last week’s scrapping of the Telephone Allowance in the Budget.
Personal panic buttons and alarms are connected to landline telephones and provide security and peace of mind for elderly people in case of a fall or other emergency.
Deputy Moynihan commented: “There has been some suggestions that elderly people can use mobile phones to activate their panic buttons now that the Telephone Allowance has been scrapped.
“This is completely inaccurate. Many parts of rural Ireland do not have mobile phone coverage at all. Many other areas have limited or reduced mobile phone coverage. I have spoken to many elderly people who are petrified of losing the Telephone Allowance and what it will mean for their security.
“In rural Ireland the telephone is often the most frequent method by which elderly people can contact their loved ones. Taking away this security will mean more and more elderly people will be living in fear. They cannot depend on unreliable mobile phone coverage to access their personal security systems or panic buttons.
“Minister Burton’s brutal abolition of the Telephone Allowance will affect over 394,671 people, including the old, the disabled and carers. It is taken as regular income by older people and is essentially a cut of €9.50 to their pensions every month.
“The abolition of this Allowance threatens the very security and welfare of the old, the disabled and their carers. The most isolated areas have the poorest mobile phone coverage, the abolition of the Telephone Allowance will lead to even more rural isolation and this decision needs to be reversed.”