The nephew of a woman who died weeks after she was burgled has pleaded with the Government to rethink their plan to scrap telephone allowance for pensioners.
Joe McKean’s aunt Suzy Arthur died last week after she was thrown to the ground by burglars at her Raphoe home in July.
Suzy, 89, suffered a broken hip and never came home from hospital after her horrific ordeal.
Tragic Suzy lived with sister Isa, 89, at their farmhouse at Feddyglass on the main Letterkenny to Lifford Road.
The elderly sisters, who have been the victim of SIX robberies, relied heavily on their phone to keep them secure and in contact with the outside world.
The ladies installed special pendant phone alarms which was linked directly to their local Garda station in case of an emergency.
On the day of the raid on July 1st, the callous gang who targeted the sisters managed to cut their phone wires rendering their alarm useless.
But Joe says the cutting of the telephone allowance in this week’s budget will now put even more fear into elderly people living in rural areas.
“I would genuinely ask them to rethink cutting the telephone allowance.
“If they saw what Suzy and Isa went through when these people ransacked their home and attacked them, they would not even think about it.
“Old people need this kind of security because very often it is the only security measure they have.
“This kind of thing just frightens them even more and makes them feel as if nobody at all cares about them.
“Isa and Suzy felt safe once they had this pendant in case anything happened around the house and there are thousands of old people around the country like them.
“What kind of message are we sending our to our old people when we are cutting allowances from them when the number of burglaries is increasing everyday?” he said.
Joe said Isa is fortunate in that she has friends and family living close by and she is now in a position to be able to install security cameras at her home.
But he says that not all elderly people can afford any kind of security measure.
“With each passing budget, elderly people are getting less and less.
“Elderly people are trying to scrape the money together to buy a bag of coal.
“People might not think losing a phone allowance is a major thing but tell that to an old person trying to budget for every penny they have each week.
“People in Government need to put themselves in the shoes of old folk and see how badly something like this will put fear into them,” he said.
Farmer Joe, who regularly called in to check on his elderly aunts, says Isa is trying to cope as best she can following the death of her sister last week.
“I would love for them to come back and see the harm they have done.
“They may have caused one death but they have ruined so many lives. I don’t know how they can lives with themselves,” he said.