“It’s a scandal,” declared Cllr Paddy Bracken at Mountmellick Town Council monthly meeting last week, referring to what he claimed was a 75% reduction in disabled persons’ grants to Laois.
This year the county was to get only 260,000 euros in such grants, he said. He maintained: “The biggest reduction in the country is in Laois.”
He went on: “How long will it be before the Government wake up to the way they are impacting on the elderly? I am asking the Town Clerk to write to Oireachtas members to condemn the huge reduction in that grant.”
Cllr Bobby Delaney: “I 100% agree with Cllr Bracken. Prescription charges have gone up. Phone bills have gone up. The ESB is up. Property charges are coming in--and all out of a 219 euros a week pension.”
He added: “If they (Government) were man enough to take 10 euros off the weekly pension--but they do it in sneaky way.” He claimed Social Protection Minister would have an annual pension of 75,000 euros, six times more than the state pension.
Cathaoirleach Rosemary Whelan said she’d received correspondence from Deputy Charles Flanagan to the effect that he was raising with the relevant Minister the issue of house adaptation grants.
Cllr Marc Connolly: “Overall, if they said they were taking the pension for one month a year it would have been an honest way of doing it. It’s the most vulnerable in society who are being hit. They have lived through two or three recessions. This one is not their fault. They have reared their families.”
Cllr Bracken said the cutbacks were also hitting the local economy.