TORCHES are being left at an East Cork collection point in a desperate attempt to help elderly people adapting to life without electricity.
Elizabeth Maddox, Chair of Cork's Older People's Council, is encouraging locals to leave flashlights with batteries in a collection box, set up for locals of the area, in Centra, Castlemartyr.
The drastic measures were taken after a number of older people resorted to leaving off their power to avoid outrageous electricity bills.
She described how one woman found herself in danger after dropping a candle that almost caused a fire. Luckily, she was able to avoid a blaze but Ms Maddox stressed that there are so many other risk factors presenting themselves to people of a certain age including hypothermia and falls.
“If the power goes it’s important that they have something safer than a candle”, Elizabeth said.
She explained how some are more vulnerable than others.
Many suffering in this way, Elizabeth explained, have never known such hardship “There is a lot of embarrassment for those who haven’t known hardship before. These are people with a lot of pride. They are people who always paid their bills upfront that have never been in a situation where they are in trouble.”
She also expressed fears about the strain this may place on hospitals and emergency services.
“There are going to be a lot more older people in Cork University Hospital this Winter. It’s come to a point where people are afraid to use any electricity at all. We are wondering where it is all going to end. I’m listening to the fear in their voices and seeing it in their faces.”
Elizabeth is urging anyone with spare working torches to consider donating.
“We are looking to collect as many torches as we can so if the electricity goes they can at least have something.”
Elizabeth isn’t the first to raise concern about rising electricity costs In an interview withearlier this month, principal of Coláiste Éamann Rís, Aaron Wolfe said they have factored in an increase of 100% in all their utility bills for the foreseeable future.
“We have factored for an increase of 100% in all our utility bills.
“That means you are allocating funds for paying your bills which means students will miss out on other activities. Our last fill of oil was only half filled as we couldn’t afford to get any more”.
Readers are welcome to leave torches with batteries included at the allocated collection point in Centra, Castlemartyr from today.