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Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD urges Minister to abandon “crazy” proposal to means-test home-help care

12 April, 2017 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has hit out at proposals to means test home-help care for older citizens.

Ó Caoláin questioned how much more home-help services can take by way of cuts, citing the hundreds of thousands of home help hours cut by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour during their respective years in government.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on older people said today:

“The Minister for Older People, Helen McEntee, should abandon this crazy proposal to means-test for home-help care.

“How much more pain can older people take? Cuts to home-help, home care, housing adaptation grants, carers’ supports, and other services have resulted in more people than necessary going into long-term residential care. It has been estimated that possibly up to a third of people in nursing homes could be at home if adequate supports were provided.

“The reality is that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have made it next to impossible for many vulnerable older people to remain in their homes due to their policies of cuts. This latest proposal to means-test home help provision will be seen as a further insult to struggling older people, their families and carers.

“Having home-help workers running around spending a half hour in one house and 30 minutes in another does not provide a holistic and effective approach to community care.

“In the meantime, family carers are at their wits end, elderly and disabled people living alone are fearful, and hospitals and nursing homes don’t have enough beds to accommodate those who need them never mind those who could be living at home if they were given full community-based supports.

“The minister should focus on finding real solutions to these problems instead of insulting older people and their families with this means-testing proposal. Sinn Féin believes that home-help requires investment to address the damage previous governments have done.

“In that vein we would increase home help hours and homecare packages in year one of a Dáil term by 10%, at an estimated cost of €31 million and by a further 10% on the baseline year in years two and three, with a resulting rise in spending of €93 million.”


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