Anger over delay in specialist alarm systems for the deaf
A local deaf woman has spoken of her fears since a gas scare in her home while another deaf man with a prosthetic leg is afraid to sleep upstairs, as they wait for grants for specialist alarm equipment for their homes.
Lisa Carroll from Navan told how she was approved for one of the specialist systems which typically include a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, house alarm and door bell designed for deaf and hard of hearing people. She said she needs this equipment for peace of mind in her home and explained that if a carbon monoxide alarm for example goes off, it would trigger a vibrating alarm in bed while they sleep. These systems also have a vibrating pagers.
In recent months Lisa told how her gas system had to be turned off when she had someone out to service her boiler, after the flue was found to be leaking and causing carbon monoxide. Thankfully it was discovered before it caused her or her family any harm but Lisa said she needs the carbon monoxide alarm for peace of mind.
Maurice Nolan and his partner Iris O'Keeffe, who are both deaf, live in Carlanstown. Maurice has a prosthetic leg and he told how he has to sleep downstairs as it would take too long to get his prosthetic leg on. If he had the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm, it would give him peace of mind to know he would be woken if there was a fire or other incident in his home.
According to Lisa Carroll, no grants were issued in Meath for a number of years, yet they continued to be given out in neighbouring counties of Cavan, Louth and Dublin every year. Last year, funding was allocated in Meath for the aids and appliances initiative but it was not enough to cover all the applications,
“There are over 300 deaf people in Meath. Last year about 25-30 people applied for the grants in the county, yet she said only nine grants were issued in 2015 in Meath”, said Lisa.
Lisa explained that they are on a waiting list but have no idea if they will get the grant in the 2016 allocation.
In correspondence from the HSE, Maurice was told the number of applications for equipment far exceeded all expectations with requests amounting to almost three times the available budget.
He was told his application was on a waiting list for 2016 and once a budget is approved for 2016, his application can be processed.
However, halfway through 2016 he has still go no word on whether he will get this vital equipment this year.
The HSE had not responded to a query in relation to the aids and appliances grant at time of going to press.