Longford Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has expressed his shock at the announcement that huge cuts are to be made to the funding for private homes grants for elderly people and those with a disability.
Westmeath County Council advised members of the Housing Social and Cultural Strategic Policy Committee meeting on Monday, which was attended by Cllrs Ken Glynn and Avril Whitney, that the grant has been more than halved. Both Cllrs have expressed their anger by size of the cut. It was confirmed at the meeting that allocations for Private House Grants were reduced from €988,155 to €435,722. Extension Grants have been reduced from €96,239 to €46,571.
“Many people in Westmeath with disabilities and in receipt of pensions are in real need of funding and depend on the grant. Now their homes will fall below the required standards to receive the private homes grants, which for many will be devastating,” stated Cllr Whitney.
“It was clear by the way this was presented by the Council officials that they were deeply disappointed by the level of cuts to their funding. Westmeath County Council has always done its best with what they have but this is not acceptable, they can’t realistically meet the needs of the whole county with this allocation,” added Cllr Glynn.
Longford Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD, Robert Troy said: “I have sought and received a special debate with Labour Minister Jan O’Sullivan this (Tuesday) evening about the cut in the grants.
“These are extremely callous cuts and the Minister is ignorant to the real need of the elderly and disabled residents of Westmeath. The schemes have proven to be extremely worthwhile projects, it keeps people with disabilities and elderly citizens out of long-term care and has saved the state millions.
“The grants also acted as a stimulus to small local contractors who were employed to work on these homes. This business will be lost to the local economy and it may also force disabled and elderly people out of their homes.”