Charities warn against budget cuts
Seven charities have warned the Government it risks “doing severe damage to Ireland’s social fabric by the time the recession ends”.
The charities, representing older people, youth, rural communities, carers and those with disabilities today united to criticise the Government for having “no plan for sustainable public services”.
At a joint press conference, the group said while the Government had multi-annual plans on income, expenditure and jobs, it had no plan to sustain community infrastructure.
The Carers Association, the National Youth Council, Older and Bolder, the Disability Federation, Irish Rural Link, the Carmichael Centre and The Wheel warned that a 20 per cent cut to key services since 2008 meant “real hardship” for those dependent on services. They said cuts to date had “pushed public services and social infrastructure beyond sustainability”.
The group is calling on the Government to produce a plan for sustainable public services with no further cuts to social infrastructure in Budget 2013.
Carers Association chief executive John Dunne said there was an issue of money being misspent. He said while the central purchasing of incontinence pads had saved money; it was at the expense of quality with some pads “poor and the wrong fit”.
He said it was “now routine” for someone who wants to care for a loved one a home to be offered residential care.
“Effectively the State is saying we can afford five times what we need to pay to look after an older or vulnerable person at home simply because we haven’t time to sort out the legislation."
Disability Federation chief executive John Dolan said though 85 per cent of the cost of providing services was staff, “we have a Croke Park agreement they are not going to do anything about until 2014. That’s two budgets away.
“We have a ratio of two-to-one of cuts in services to tax increases," he said. “What presses us right now is the Croke Park agreement as it currently stands.”