Mitchell O’Connor calls on other telephone service providers to follow Digiweb’s lead after Budget 2014

Telephone service provider offers monthly credits to those affected by Budget discontinuation of telephone grant

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has called on other telephone service providers to follow the example set by independent telecommunications company, Digiweb, who has offered those affected by the discontinuation of the telephone grant in Budget 2014 an equivalent amount in monthly credits.

“This initiative by Digiweb, while designed to entice customers to use their service, shows great initiative and demonstrates that company’s ability to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves by making concessions such as this.

“By offering monthly credits equivalent to the €9.50 per month allowance to those who have been affected by the discontinuation of the grant, Digiweb is attempting to alleviate the impact on those affected and I suggest that other telephone companies do the same.

“The Government did not want to have to make changes such as this in the Budget but with an adjustment of €2.5 billion to make, we had to look at the least worst option in making savings to the Social Protection budget. The telephone grant was believed to be anachronistic in this day and age when the majority of people have mobile phones and the payment of the grant was largely seen as a contribution to Eircom rather than a support for elderly.

“The Taoiseach yesterday told of a pensioner he met recently whose telephone bill was €46 or thereabouts for the fixed line charge, with just €4 of calls being made. Minister Howlin said on Budget night that, in the interest of peace of mind for the elderly he would sit down with Minister Hogan, look at what resources were needed for the Community Alert Scheme and provide money for it. We must remember too that in this digital age, the pendant or the security alarm system can be administered through the mobile system and Ministers Hogan and Burton have been asked to talk to the community alert organisations to ensure a process is put in place a to allow this to happen.

“I commend Digiweb for the creativity it has shown in offering this reduction for its customers and call on others to do the same.”

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