Council turned down couple for adaptation grant

Grant application rejected on basis of couple’s income before catastrophic injury

Declan Naughton and his wife Louise with their children Cillian (12) and Callum (seven).

Declan Naughton and his wife Louise with their children Cillian (12) and Callum (seven).

 

A couple living in Co Kildare has told of their battles with bureaucracy in their efforts to adapt their home following a catastrophic injury.

Declan Naughton, who was paralysed from the chest down following a cycling accident last June, and his wife Louise, told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that they want to adapt their Celbridge home so their family can be together.

Ms Naughton explained that when they applied to Kildare County Council for a home adaptation grant to fund the 250,000 changes required to their four-bedroom home, they were turned down as they were over the limit based on their combined income for 2017.

“That doesn’t look at future earnings,” said Mr Naughton.

One of the conditions of the planning permission for the changes to their home in Celbridge was that they would need to pay a local contribution fee of €4,000, added Ms Naughton. “I appealed, but I was told they couldn’t waive it.

“We’ve always worked, paid our taxes and we’re in a situation now where we need a little bit of help.”

She told of the grieving process she had gone through for the life they used to have while also wading through many forms, some of which “were like booklets”.

Home care package

The family needs a home care package for Mr Naughton to return home, which means carers for 50 hours a week. “It’s still a bit of a battle, Declan should have been home by now, but the care package is the issue,” said Ms Naughton.

“We just want the four of us together.”

Mr Naughton added: “above all else, I just want to be home. This injury won’t define who I am. I will get back to work. My focus now is on rehab and on getting home to my family.”

The couple spoke of how family, friends and their community have supported and continue to support them since the accident, which took place while Mr Naughton was participating in a charity cycle for Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland with his colleagues at KBC Bank.

Friends and colleagues have set up a Go Fund me page called Doing this for Declan – https://ie.gofundme.com/doingthisfordeclan – which to date has raised more than €87,000 of the goal of €250,000.