Campaign says home help cuts will cause 'absolute anguish'


CUTS TO home help hours will result in premature admissions to nursing homes, longer stays in acute hospitals and “absolute anguish” for families, a campaign group for the elderly has said.

Older and Bolder yesterday handed a letter and petition to the chairman of the Oireachtas health committee, Jerry Buttimer, asking the Government to reverse HSE cuts to some one million home help hours.

“This is already a really thinly stretched service,” the group’s director, Patricia Conboy, said at a demonstration outside Leinster House. “It is a totally illogical cut . . . On a human level and on an economic level it makes no sense.”

Maureen Carolan (74) receives 3½ home help hours a week and said she “couldn’t manage without them”. It was unfair to cut care services for those people who worked all their lives to “keep this country going”. The late effects of polio have confined her to a wheelchair and she had cancer earlier in life. But the home help cuts are “the last straw – this has hurt me more than all the diseases I got”. Ms Carolan said she would be willing to go on hunger strike if the cuts are not reversed.

Madeline Curran (74) said it was “morally wrong” for TDs who “turn up to a well-paid job” to allow cuts to services for vulnerable elderly people.

Mabel Gargan, who said she was “90½”, described cuts affecting poorer people as unfair. It wouldn’t be so bad, she said, “if they also took something from the fellows at the top”.

The demonstrators included former minister of state for health Róisín Shortall.