PEOPLE are "stuck" in hospitals or nursing homes because they cannot return home until required works are carried out at their homes due to a "shortfall" in funding for the disabled persons grant, a Limerick city TD has claimed.
The grant scheme, which provides funding to carry out works on local authority properties to meet tenants' needs, is seeing a two-and-a-half year backlog for applications in Limerick city.
That is according to Deputy Maurice Quinlivan, who added that new applications are not being accepted "at all until this backlog can be cleared".
“These grants provide for works such as making a house wheelchair-accessible, extending it to create more space, adding a ground-floor bathroom or toilet, or fitting a stair-lift.
“It is estimated €2 million is required to clear this backlog of cases," he stated this Wednesday.
He said: “This is extremely worrying, as the DPG scheme provides essential funding to local authorities to carry out adaptions for tenants with a disability or mobility problems.
“As a result of this shortfall in funding, some people are actually stuck in hospital as they cannot return home from the hospital or a nursing home until the required works are carried out.
He said that this is adding to the pressure of overcrowding hospitals.
“It is scandalous that this scheme has been allowed run out of money, given the absolutely necessity of the works funded by it.
“I recently asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he is aware of this situation in Limerick, and if he will provide funding to alleviate it.
“Unfortunately, the Minister gave no commitment to address the shortfall in funding in Limerick City.
“This is a disgraceful situation and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”