'They're taking away a vital lifeline'
Published 29/11/2013 | 01:00
Nancy White, who's 68, and her husband Terry, who's 73, are among the hundreds of thousands of pensioners set to lose their phone allowance in January.
The couple moved back from England to Nancy's home village of Lorrha in Tipperary eight years ago, and they say the phone allowance has been a lifeline.
Their local garda station closed several years ago, and even the nearest one is only open a limited number of hours, making the phone even more crucial as a security aid.
"We live in a very rural area and crime is up, yet they're now taking away something that is vital for people's security," she says.
Nancy says that as she was in receipt of an English pension, which is lower than the Irish equivalent, the phone allowance had been even more crucial.
As a busy volunteer with Active Retirement Ireland, Nancy says that her fellow members were furious, but had got nowhere with government ministers.
"We had a regional meeting last month and if you could hear people's views on this, they are extremely upset," she says.
Nancy says she was considering giving up the landline altogether to save money, but was concerned about patchy coverage that might make it difficult to rely on in an emergency.
This was also a worry for many people who had pendant alarms used to alert emergency services via their landline in the event of a fall or other problem.