About 300 protest against cuts to home help
SEVERAL HUNDRED health workers held a rally outside the Department of Health yesterday to protest against cuts to home help staff and the outsourcing of jobs to the private sector.
Siptu organiser Paul Bell said the 300 protesters, members of the union’s health division, were bringing the protest to the Minister for Health James Reilly’s “doorstep”. Mr Bell said they were angered by “the mistreatment of home helps”, whose hours were being cut or stopped, and also against the outsourcing of jobs to the private sector. He said this was being done “without any understanding of whether the taxpayer is getting better value for money”.
Home help worker Margaret O’Brien from Kilmainham said the issue was one of both pay and quality of care. “When people come home from hospital, our time runs over with them. They need extra help, but we don’t get extra pay. We are not getting the money we should be getting and the people are not getting the care they should be getting. I deal with some people who only get half an hour of home help – how can you look after a person who is 88 in half an hour?”
Delegates at the rally called for a successor, not a replacement to the Croke Park agreement, a relaxing of the moratorium on staff, a registered agreement for home help staff and the abolition of the universal social charge.
“We believe there are gross inefficiencies, and the Minister has seen fit to lay all those issues at our doorstep,” said Mr Bell. “We want to discuss those issues which are in his power to address.”