Thursday 18 October 2018

Vulnerable old folks still without phones weeks after hurricane

Annette Nolan.
Annette Nolan.

A significant number of vulnerable older people in the south Wicklow area are still without telephone service three weeks after Hurricane Ophelia.

According to the local community alert organisation, many senior citizens across Shillelagh, Tinahely, Mullinacuff and Crossbridge have also been left without their emergency personal alarm service as a result.

Chairperson Annette Nolan said that there is a lot of concern in the area and appealed to local people to check on their elderly neighbours who are still awaiting the restoration of their phone service.

'I have spoken to various people who are still without their phones three weeks later. Their panic buttons do not work unless the phone line is up and running. Anyone could understand a week or so but three weeks is a long time to be without a service and many of these older people are very worried and upset about it,' Ms Nolan said.

According to Cllr Vincent Blake, a number of trees did fall on cables during the hurricane and some of the lines still appear to be down.

Ms Nolan, who organises regular social outings for local senior citizens said that many of them feel vulnerable without their alarms.

'They rely on these alarms and their phones for security and to make contact with the outside world and they feel very nervous alone at home without them,' she said.

It is understood that a number of customers had their phone service restored on Monday but, according to the Eir website, some 2,000 customers across the county could be anything up to eight more days without service, while repairs are ongoing. Efforts to contact an Eir representative were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

Wicklow People