Last week’s government decision to cut funding for the Housing Adaptation Grants Scheme in Sligo by 12.5% is savage and unprecedented.

This massive reduction in funding will have a devastating effect on the elderly and people with a disability.

The funding is provided annually to each Council to cover the cost of three schemes: the Mobility Aids Grants Scheme, the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme for People with a Disability, and the Housing Aid for Older Person’s Grant Scheme – all of which are means tested.

Last year the capital allocation to Sligo County Council was €1,600,000; this year the government has reduced Sligo’s funding to €1,405,000 – a cutback of 12.5%.

These schemes have provided a life-line in the past to many older people and people with a disability, it has enabled people who have qualified for the grant to fund such items as stair-lifts, walk-in showers, downstairs toilets etc.  The older persons scheme provides funding for items such as leaking roofs, replacement boilers, or re-wiring.

The effect of the cutback will be devastating.  It will mean that the Council will simply have to turn people away this year and inevitably some people will no longer be able to live in their homes.   Instead some may be forced into residential care.

When Fine Gael and Independent Alliance minister’s visited Sligo in recent weeks there was no mention of these proposed cut backs.

What the government is doing is penalising the elderly and the disabled – people who deserve our care and support .  How can Fine Gael and Independent Alliance elected representatives justify such decisions?

I am calling on the government to understand the devastating effects this will have for our family and friends in the community and to reverse their decision on these cuts!