The single button alarms are a godsend for frail people living alone and while they are equally beneficial for city and urban dwellers, Muintir na Tíre says they are absolutely vital for people living in isolated areas.
They are worried that the alarms and the cost of monitoring them could jump to a price that would make some people abandon their use.
Their fears are prompted by the government’s decision to remove the running of the ‘Seniors Alert Scheme’ from the Department of the Environment to Pobal, an organisation that already runs several State contracts.
At present, there are 150,000 customers nationwide and the current cost for an elderly person is €67 per annum.
A spokesperson for the Department said a new tendering process was designed to promote competition and there was nothing to suggest that the changes would mean a price increase.
However, a spokesperson for Muintir na Tíre said they suspected that, under the new system, the cost could come close to the British price of £200 per annum. Let us hope that their suspicions and fears do not come to pass.