Elderly woman's extension refused despite almost €1million for adaptation grants in Laois

Anthony Brophy is 'shocked' to hear that these funds are available in Laois County Council

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Elderly woman's extension refused despite almost €1million for adaptation grants in Laois

An extra €108k has been given to Laois County Council for Housing Adaptation Grants to the public, bringing the total for the coming year to €936,729.

Housing Officer Ian McCormack expects that all of it will be spent.

“Laois County Council consistently spends its entire allocation,” he told the Leinster Express.

He explains who can qualify for the grants, which are given to make a house more suitable for people with disabilities, mobility problems, or for older people in poor housing conditions.

“Housing Aid for Older People Grants are available to assist older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvement works carried out. The level of grant is based on gross household income and the approved cost of the works,” Mr McCormack said.

The son of an elderly Portlaoise woman who was refused an extension onto her maisonette was shocked to hear that almost €1million is allocated to Housing Adaptation Grants in Laois.

Anthony Brophy applied on behalf of his mother Maria Brophy, for an extension onto the house where he is her full-time carer because it is so cramped that Mrs Brophy must eat her food from a small trolley.

There is one small room in the house that acts as a kitchen and living area. They spend all of their time in this room. 

Her wheelchairs and walking aids are stored outside in the garden.

The mother of 12 has had a gazebo put up at her back door which gives them some temporary space to sit outside on fine days.

The local authority said that the cramped environment “is mainly due to the inappropriate size, arrangement and amount of furniture in the room.”

The room contains a two seater couch and two arm chairs.

"I cannot believe that,  I am shocked, very shocked. They cannot spend €21,000 out of that for a 13 by 13 foot extension?" Anthony said. 

"What are they going to do with that money, put more flower pots outside their building?" Anthony added.

"I am very shocked and I cannot say anymore," he said.

Anthony is now going to look for a transfer on behalf of his elderly mother Maria as it may be more likely than an extension. 

Laois County Council has said it does not comment on individual cases.

VIDEO: See the size of the Brophy's maisonette here.