Home helps protest at HSE's swingeing cuts to services


UP TO 400 home helps working for the not-for-profit sector and the HSE protested in Dublin yesterday against cuts to hours and privatisation of homecare services.

Earlier this year the HSE cut 600,000 hours from the 10 million home-help hours provided annually and earlier this month confirmed it would be implementing a further cut of about 450,000 hours by year end.

As well as home helps from Dublin, Sligo, Drogheda and Cork were members of People Before Profit, the Socialist Party and Sinn Féin. A small number of people carried 32-County Sovereignty Movement flags.

John Hancox, from Cavan, said he had lost one of the 9½ hours per week of home help. He is blind and wheelchair-bound. “I have no one coming to me now on Thursday morning. I can’t cook because I’m blind. I am absolutely worried about more cuts,” he said.

Ann Kelly, a home help from Ballyfermot, Dublin, was there with her sister Georgina Kelly and brother Seán Kelly, both of whom are also home helps. All work for the not-for-profit Ballyfermot Home Help organisation.

Ms Kelly said her hours had been cut over the past year as clients moved into long-term care or died. “The hours aren’t being replaced because any new clients now are being given to Comfort Keepers. I’m very worried I’ll soon have no job.”