Written answers

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Department of Justice and Equality

Security of the Elderly

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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311. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce grants for the installation of intruder alarms for older persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6779/19]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois, Fine Gael)
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I must inform the Deputy that my Department does not provide funding for the installation of intruder alarms for older persons.

However, I can advise the Deputy that the Department of Rural and Community Development funds the Senior Alert Scheme, which provides grant assistance towards the purchase and installation of personal monitored alarms for persons aged 65 or older and of limited means.

The objective of the Seniors Alert Scheme (SAS) is to encourage community support for vulnerable older people in our communities through the provision of personal monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind. I am advised that the grant assistance is made available through community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations that are registered with Pobal. Any decision to extend the scheme to house alarms, rather than personal alarms, would be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Rural and Community Development.

Notwithstanding the above, I can advise the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to pursue a range of measures to support elderly and more vulnerable people in the community, working closely with Community Alert, Neighbourhood Watch and other community groups. For many years, my Department has supported community crime prevention by providing funding for the Community Alert programme, which is operated by Muintir na Tíre, in partnership with the Garda authorities. At the Ploughing Championships last September, I announced that up to €150,000 would be made available for local communities in 2018 towards the cost of running the Scheme.

I can assure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. A total budget of €1.76 billion has been provided to An Garda Síochána in 2019, an increase of over €100 million on the 2018 allocation. These unprecedented resources are underpinned by the Government's ongoing commitment to achieving a Garda workforce of 21,000 by 2021.


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