Applause as TD calls for end to home-help cuts

Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 01:00

THE GOVERNMENT was sharply criticised in the Dáil for cutting more than a million home-help hours this year and for moving to privatise the service.

To applause from home helps in the public gallery, United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett criticised the Government for outsourcing home-help services to multinational companies “like Comfort Keepers, owned by Sodexo, a French multinational”.

The Dún Laoghaire TD claimed “this multinational had to pay fines in compensation to New York city for overcharging the city for food and facilities management services”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny insisted that the Government was determined to “ensure that where home help is needed, home help will be given”.

Mr Kenny, who expressed his admiration for the work of home helps, said the circumstances of those who received home-help care could change “and these things are reviewed as a result”.

Mr Boyd Barrett, however, said the Government was “outsourcing home-help services to that company, degrading services here and cutting services to the most vulnerable sectors of society and attacking the pay and conditions of home-help assistants who provide those services”.

Calling for a reversal in the cuts to home helps, he asked how the Taoiseach could square his respect for home helps with the outsourcing of home-care services to a multinational company that wanted to pay home helps by the minute.