independent

Wednesday 3 September 2014

TD snaps at phone cuts

Joe Leogue

Published 24/10/2013 | 05:26

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OLDER rural-dwellers are fearful for their security following cuts to the telephone allowance in the budget, according to a Cork North West TD.

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OLDER rural-dwellers are fearful for their security following cuts to the telephone allowance in the budget, according to a Cork North West TD.

Fianna Fáil Communications spokesperson Michael Moynihan TD this week described suggestions that elderly people will be able to use mobile phones to activate their panic buttons or home security alarms as "totally inaccurate."

Last week's budget saw telephone allowances for pensioners, worth €9.50 a month, scrapped leading to claims that the cut will have a knock-on effect on personal panic buttons and alarms that are connected to landline telephones.

Mr Moynihan said the cut will impact 394,671 people.

"There has been some suggestions that elderly people can use mobile phones to activate their panic buttons now that the telephone allowance has been scrapped," he said.

"This is completely inaccurate. Many parts of rural Ireland do not have mobile phone coverage at all. Many other areas have limited or reduced mobile phone coverage. I have spoken to many elderly people who are petrified of losing the telephone allowance and what it will mean for their security.

Deputy Moynihan said that poor mobile phone coverage in rural areas, as documented recently in this newspaper, would add to the concerns of those who may lose their landline as a result of the budget cut.

"In rural Ireland the telephone is often the most frequent method by which elderly people can contact their loved ones."

"Taking away this security will mean more and more elderly people will be living in fear. They cannot depend on unreliable mobile phone coverage to access their personal security systems or panic buttons," he said.

Corkman

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