People with disabilities ‘left in limbo’ after cuts
MONEY SHORTAGE NO FUNDS TO FINANCE HOME REFURBISHMENTS
PEOPLE WITH disabilities in County Wicklow are being ‘ left in limbo,’ as there is no money available to pay for essential refurbishments to their homes, it has emerged.
This comes alongside fears that the Government may consider targeting carers’ allowances for budgetary cuts.
Bray man George Eagar has Parkinson’s disease and, with his debilitating condition deteriorating, his wife Sheila must adapt a garage to a downstairs bedroom and bathroom.
She has been told by Wicklow County Council that while they qualify for a grant to cover some of the cost, there is no money available for it.
‘What has really got me is that we’re married nearly 50 years, I have always owned dogs and had a licence. For the first time ever I received a reminder, a month in advance, to pay the licence,’ said Sheila. ‘What a waste of money. How much must that have cost to send to every dog owner in Wicklow?’
A spokeswoman for the Wicklow branch of the Carers’ Association, based in Bray, said that they are aware of a number of similar cases across County Wicklow. She added that they are not aware of any other county in Ire- land affected by the cuts.
Sheila said that George, who used to be a teacher, has a number of symptoms associated with the disease and that the upstairs bathroom in their home is no longer sufficient for his needs. She must now foot the bill for the work.
‘There are many who simply can’t afford to carry out the works themselves,’ said the Carers’ Association spokeswoman.
‘We are aware of a number of carers who have been passed in principal for the grants but don’t know when they will get the payment.’
She said that many of their members need to make necessary changes such as wheelchair access and downstairs bathrooms.
She added that while the grant is assessed by the HSE and public health nurse, it is the County Council that awards the grant, with an average amount of € 30,000.
She also said that the office has been ‘ inundated’ with people on the half-rate carers allowance, who are worried about their entitlements.
Sheila Eagar and her dog Whisper at their home on Newcourt Rd.