Money must be diverted to secure funds for essential housing grants, says McDonnell

Green Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin must “use his influence” on Environment Minister John Gormley to secure urgently needed funds for the Galway City Council’s Essential Housing Aid for the Elderly and Disabled Persons Grant Scheme.

This is the view of PD Cllr Declan McDonnell who also believes that funding from other sources should be diverted to “this most necessary cause”.

Cllr McDonnell said he is “alarmed and shocked” that people looking for urgent works to be completed under the scheme are unable to proceed because there are no funds available.

Cllr McDonnell said senior officials at City Hall have informed him no money is available to proceed with any more works this year and only those applications which have already been completed and granted final approval will receive payment in 2008.

“People who need bathroom and shower alterations or stair-lifts and ramps, now find they cannot proceed with the necessary works because all of the money has been spent,” he said. “I am talking about people who have had major heart or other surgery and people with very limited mobility - people with arthritis, motor neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis or many other disabilities.”

Cllr McDonnell is calling on Minister Gormley to provide additional funding and on Cllr Ó Brolcháin to “use his influence” to encourage his party leader to do so.

“We have to prioritise funding for those who need it most,” he said. “My concern is people will become so desperate they will borrow the money from loan sharks. I am calling on the Minister to allow these people to borrow from reputable lending institutions and give them some hope for a quality of life.”

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