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Elderly fear cutbacks will leave them isolated

MAJOR concern has been raised over potential cutbacks affecting the elderly after Dublin City Council wrote to thousands of residents announcing plans to "reorganise" its liaison service.

Age Action Ireland and a number of councillors have called on management to reveal any budgetary cutbacks that will hit pensioners living in complexes across the capital.

Thousands of elderly residents who use the council's liaison service recently received letters informing them that the rolling out of the service was being re-examined.

The letter, seen by the Herald, states: "Dublin City Council has provided a liaison service for many years.

"We are re-organising the Liaison Officer Service and taking into account the wishes of residents who do or do not use this service."

Gerard Scully, senior information officer with Age Action Ireland, told the Herald that the service is 'vitally important'.

He said: "Age Action would be concerned that the council would consider removing the service from its sheltered housing complexes.

"While many older people in these complexes lead fully independent lives and many more have pendant or personal alarms, there are some who rely on the liaison officer for human contact and assurance that they will have at least one caller during the day. Liaison officers also arrange for repairs to be carried out on units within the complexes."

Councillors called on council management to come clean on any plans it has to make cuts.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said that he had been "inundated" with calls from concerned residents and said it was "an early warning".

A council spokesman said there were no imminent plans to cut the service.

hnews@herald.ie