Despite a €1 million government grant to upgrade the homes of elderly or disabled people, Laois County Council is not even considering applications until later in the year.
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley critised the the long waiting time, and is calling on Minister for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan, to invest more money.
“To tell people with a disability in this situation that they will wait years to have accessible toilet and shower facilities is a disgrace in the 21st century. Although both Laois and Offaly County Councils have been allocated over €1million each for 2012 it is having a minimal impact on the number of applicants,” he said.
He says many of the applicants with a disability cannnot get upstairs to use toilet or shower facilities.
“In other cases elderly people are living in very old houses without proper washing and toilet facilities and are unable to improve or upgrade them from their own resources,” he said.
Stanley believes granting more money would create a win-win situation for everyone.
“Many small contractors involved in the upgrade works such as electricians, plumbers, plasterers and builders are getting much needed work and creating jobs. In addition there is a spin-off for local hardware shops and providers who supply the materials and the exchequer benefits from income tax, VAT, the Universal Social Charge and saved Social Welfare Benefits. So the nett cost to the state is much less than the capital provision of €67 million.” he said.