Elderly Limerick woman lost out on bin waiver after forgetting to sign form

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Limerick Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely

A WOMAN in her eighties, who was recovering from ill health, was turned down for a bin waiver because she forgot to sign the application form.

That’s according to Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely, who told the Council Executive at this Wednesday’s Metropolitan District meeting that she believes the scheme is not for purpose.

Cllr Kiely took the view that the Bin Waiver Scheme needs to improve and become more age-friendly.

“We are not meeting our obligation to communicate and inform older people  — some of whom have literacy issues — that are eligible for the scheme. This is a huge issue, a fundamental problem. We’ve all heard stories from people who didn’t even receive the application forms. This is a fundamental flaw. The forms need to be sent out,” the City East representative declared.

After the highlighting the case of an 80-year-old woman who forgot to sign her application, which led to her not receiving the waiver, Cllr Kiely called on the Council to show compassion.

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“You are talking about people who have worked hard all their lives and paid their taxes, and they didn’t even get a letter. The administration of the scheme is flawed, it doesn’t foster good relations with older people.

“We are all very proud of the scheme and the fact we are the only Council in the country with such a scheme. It is a gift from councillors to the people of the city and county. We are not safeguarding our gift. The whole process is flawed and I am appealing to the executive to take this onboard.”

Labour Party councillor Elena Secas called on the Council to consider automatically making over-65s eligible for the scheme from next year, and save them going through the process of reapplying.

“People get confused and the time of year isn’t right — in December and January it is easy to forget. This happens too many people and they are being punished for forgetting,” Cllr Secas claimed.

“I am just asking that from next year that additional time is allowed and reminders to be sent. A lot of elderly people are not on social platforms and they are not getting all the information. Next year over-65s should qualify for the scheme automatically.”

Jayne Leahy, Head of the Council’s Property Services, said that 310,000 bin waivers were issued in 2022.

Council members were informed that, in the interest of fairness, people must reapply annually as their circumstances can change. Ms Leahy also told council members that council staff were happy to assist anyone having difficulty with their application.