At an event in Westport Fire Station, Co Mayo today, Minister Ring announced an initiative to support the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in the homes of elderly, isolated and vulnerable people throughout rural Ireland.
Alarms will be supplied to Muintir na Tíre groups who will install them in people’s homes on a voluntary basis. Minister Ring has allocated €115,000 to support this initiative through the Dormant Accounts Fund
which is administered by his Department.
Minister Ring also launched Muintir na Tíre’s new Cairde mobile app to help vulnerable people to live safely in their homes.
The app features:
Integration with the Community Text Alert system for people to receive Garda alerts
Community messaging to allow communities communicate with each other
A panic button to allow people summon help from designated neighbours, family or friends
The Community Alert structure includes over 1,400 community groups throughout the country, with a focus on community safety. The pilot programme will seek to fit out 2,000 homes, at an average cost of only €57 per home. A total of €115,000 has been allocated to support this initiative.
Speaking in relation to the installation of Carbon Monoxide alarms in people’s homes, Minister Ring said:
“Many elderly, isolated or vulnerable people can benefit from this support, which will see the retrofitting of their homes with Carbon-Monoxide Alarms. This funding will complement the already established Community Smoke Alarm Scheme funding so that a suite of safety measures will be available to those who otherwise might not be able to afford them.
“Deaths from fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) remain a significant, but largely avoidable cause of death in Ireland. An average of 41 people a year die from fire, and 6 from CO poisoning, with many additional injuries. This is particularly true in rural Ireland, mainly because of isolation – people living alone and houses being some distance apart.
“While current building regulations provide for the installation of CO alarms, there has been no measure to retrofit them. Therefore many older homes do not have CO alarms, and this is particularly true for homes occupied by elderly, vulnerable, or isolated people. These schemes will help provide safety to people in their homes.”
Speaking in relation to the new Cairde mobile app, Minister Ring said:
“This valuable service is funded through my Department’s Dormant Accounts Fund and empowers people and communities to become safer and more connected than ever before, and to stay in their homes for longer, even in remote areas.
“A panic button will allow people to summon help from their designated neighbours, family, or friends. This system is monitored and co-ordinated so that the person in difficulty, and those responding to the alert, will be continually informed about who is coming, and how far away they are. This means nobody should feel isolated or alone while dealing with an emergency situation.
“It is planned that upcoming developments will include linking with doorbell cameras and other smart technology. The use of smart plugs will allow unobtrusive monitoring of patterns. For example if a person does not use a kettle by the usual time on a day, Cairde can be discretely advised and can investigate if necessary.”
“I am delighted that my Department, through this funding and through various schemes such as CLÁR, Town and Village and LIS, is supporting rural communities to be vibrant places for people of all ages.”
Muintir na Tíre is a national organisation for community development. It supports 200 Community Councils and 1,400 Community Alert groups nationwide, through a network of Development Officers and Head Office support. Muintir na Tíre receives support from the Departments of Rural and Community Development, Health, and Justice and Equality. Further information on Muintir na Tíre is available at https://www.muintir.ie/