Home Helps to protest at Dáil at 6pm today
As the Dáil reconvenes today, Home Help workers, their clients, supporters and campaigners will protest outside Dáil Eireann against the decision by the government to cut 600,000 home help hours and 800 home care packages. They will be calling for an immediate reversal of the cuts.
Home care for some of the most vulnerable people in society is being cut by Health Minister James Reilly. As well as cutting the hours and home care packages, the government also want to privatise the home help service. Up to now, most home help care has been provided by voluntary, not-for-profit organisations that are funded by the HSE. Now the HSE wants to turn over home care services to multi-national companies such as Comfort Keepers.
About €140 million of taxpayers’ money is being channelled into these private corporations that will cut wages and attack working conditions. This race to the bottom approach has seen some not-for-profit organisations being forced to cut wages.
There are 13,000 home help workers in Ireland that play a valuable role in Ireland’s health services. The Carers Association estimate care in the home rather than in hospitals, Nursing homes or residential institutions saves the state €400 million a year.
In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, “The fact that this push to reduce home help services is being pushed by a Minister who is himself a stakeholder in the private healthcare industry is disgraceful. Once again this government is attacking the most vulnerable in our society while protecting the wealthy in this country”
“The disability campaigners who stayed overnight at the dáil to protest against cuts to their personal assistant hours showed that protests do work but it is time for all these campaigns to join together ina show of strength before the budget”
Home Care Community Action Group spokesperson John Lyons, said: “We’ve seen the true face of austerity this past month, the supposed “silly season”, according to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Fine Gael and Labour, under pressure from their ‘troika’ paymasters to reduce the health budget, decided to target the disabled, children with life-limiting illnesses and the elderly, those in our community who depend upon personal assistants and home helps in order to live quality, independent and dignified lives. A new low in Irish politics was reached. Shameful”.