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Sinn Féin to support Cork rally for home help services

3 November, 2012 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin in Cork will join a rally against cutbacks to home help services today.

The mobilisation, which starts at 2pm outside Connolly Hall, marks the launch of SIPTU’s ‘Time to Care’ national home helps campaign.

Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien described the services that home helps provide to older people and those living with disabilities in communities throughout the state as “crucial”.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“Sinn Féin has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with home helps in the face of cuts that have seen hours and home care packages slashed. These services are essential to the health, well-being and quality of life of those availing of them. Last month, the party brought a motion before the Dáil that called on the government to reverse these cuts and return funding to pre-Budget 2012 levels. However, the government voted down the motion despite overwhelming anger within communities.

“This is not just a case of figures. These cuts of almost €10 million in funding and the slashing of 1,000,000 contact hours represent flesh and blood cases of real people. They have been assessed time and time again and they have always been found to be in need of care. Yet the HSE, on the demand of the government, has still pushed ahead with implementation of savage cuts.

“The minister says there are no other options. We have presented him with one. There are 226 members in the houses of the Oireachtas. We could reduce ministers’ pay to €100,000, Deputies’ pay to €75,000 and Senators’ pay to €60,000. That would leave each of us with a good income and would save €4.3 million – over 250,000 home help hours. It is a viable cost-saving that would take away some of the burden that Minister Reilly has placed on frontline services and communities.

“I am also protesting today for personal reasons. My family and I have first-hand experience of the amazing service and care provided by Home Help workers. My Father’s right to stay in his home, over the course of his fight against Motor Neuron Disease, was upheld mainly due to the work and dedication of his home help. Many other patients and their families will be robbed of this right if we do not succeed in forcing the government to reverse these cuts.”

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