Protest held over home help cuts

 

Up to 400 people protested raucously today against what they described as "inhuman cuts" in the home-help sector in the Taoiseach's hometown, Castlebar.

The noise level reached a crescendo outside Mr Kenny's constituency office in Tucker Street where there was prolonged chanting of slogans such as "Come on Enda, Give us a Break, all you do is Take, Take Take" and "No ifs, no buts, no home help cuts".

Neither the Taoiseach or any of his staff were in the office at the time and the march from Chapel Street to Market Square continued after Siptu organiser Annette Carpenter, via a megaphone, had roundly condemned both Mr Kenny and Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.

"Reilly...Out, Out, Out", the crowd chanted, and there were chants of "Shame on You" after Ms Carpenter said the Taoiseach had refused to meet the home help lobby group as requested.

Campaigners from six counties, Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Galway converged on Castlebar for yesterday's rally.

Many of those marching carried placards and wore their county GAA colours.

Protester Margaret Sheeran, a home help from the Charlestown area, told a harrowing story about an elderly man found dead in her area some weeks home help visits had been cut.

"The doctor said he had been dead a good while before he was found," Ms Sheeran continued. "Is that we want in our day and age? Everyone is entitled to a bit of dignity. In some cases, elderly people are visits lasting three quarters of an hour or half an hour or, some cases, only fifteen minutes.

"The patients themselves expect you to stay longer. They can't understand you walking away."

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