The decision by the Government to abolish the Telephone Allowance for pensioners which came into effect from January 2014 has been slammed by Independent Local Election Candidate for the Cahir/Clonmel, Martin Lonergan.
According to Mr Lonergan, the abolition of the Telephone Allowance alone will affect over 394,000 people nationally, including the elderly, the disabled and carers in Tipperary. Almost 30,000 carers rely on this Allowance while more than 56,000 disabled people also receive this Allowance nationally.
?The Telephone Allowance was taken as regular income by older people and it is essentially a cut of ?9.50 to their pensions every month. This is unfair and will threaten the security and welfare of the most vulnerable in our communities,? according to Mr Lonergan.
Mr Lonergan who is also an active member of his local Community Alert Group which is administered by Muintir na T?re said that many older people need their phone lines in order to install panic buttons and other security devices. Previously, the allowance had allowed older and vulnerable people stay in contact with their loved ones in an easy and accessible way. ?Removing this particular allowance will add to the security risks of many older people who already feel isolated and vulnerable in their homes,? commented Mr Lonergan.
?The abolition of the Telephone Allowance has been raised with me on the door step by many concerned pensioners. I fear that it will have a direct and lasting impact on the most vulnerable and in particular, the elderly in our communities and I am calling on the Government to reverse this action immediately,? concluded Mr Lonergan.