Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has expressed concern over the massive mismatch between the demand for the Age Action Hardship Fund and the money available for distribution.

Tóibín: “Age Action Ireland have been a vital support for our elderly down through the years, and of course as the pandemic occurred and the economy shut down, many elderly citizens turned to apply for the Hardship Fund to help them get through these difficult times.

However, the Aontú Longford Cumann found out that of the 21’000 applicants for the Hardship Fund, only 1000 people were successful in their application. Its apparent that Age Action simply hadn’t expected the uptake or anticipated the unprecedented need for the Hardship Fund. Indeed, many successful applicants stated they only received €200 – a fraction of what was promised. Simply, the demand for help exceeded Age Action’s financial capacity to help.”

“Applicants for the Hardship Fund are looking for a small amount of money to help them get through the Covid crisis. Some need the money as they are using a little more heating at home, when they would have usually been out during the day. Others need funds to pay others to go out and do their shopping for them or to pick up their prescription.

It says a lot about the value the elderly have in our society when tens of thousands are forced to seek money from a hard ship fund. It also says a lot about our response when only 5% of those applicants can be facilitated. Age Action is doing their best but in our view the government must step in. The government must either step and do their job, or help Age Action to do theirs.”