Protest held over home-help cuts


Health workers held a rally outside the Department of Health today in protest against cuts to home-help staff and the outsourcing of jobs to the private sector.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said the 300 protesters, members of Siptu's health division, were “bringing the protest to the Minister's doorstep”.

Mr Bell said the protest was against “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.”

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