Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has heavily criticised a 15% cut to the budget of the Alzeimer Society of Ireland in Laois and Offaly, which was announced last week.
The leading national voluntary organisation for people with dementia has now seen its budget cut by 20% in just two years.
The Laois Offaly TD commented: “What is incredible is the fact that the budget for the Alzeimer Society of Ireland for the region that takes in Laois, Offaly, Longford or Westmeath has been cut by an extraordinary 15%, whereas the national average was less than 5%.
“What kind of message is this sending out for people suffering with Alzeimers or a related dementia in these counties? Does it mean they are not as important as sufferers from other counties? This is a very dangerous path to be pursuing and serious consideration must be made by the HSE to changing this terrible decision.
“In simple terms, the cut of 15% equates to €37,000 for the year. What is more baffling is the Society is only being informed of this at the end of June, half way through the year when much of the budget has already been allocated. Families of people in Offaly and Laois suffering from dementia cannot cope with a reduction of 15 hours a week to dementia specific care.
“This will affect 17 families in Offaly and 13 families in Laois, 624 people have been diagnosed with dementia in Offaly and 577 in Laois. The facts are stark, these cuts cannot be sustained, huge pressure will be placed on an already struggling service and this will further impact on frontline services affecting staff and families.
“I have contacted the HSE directly and I am seeking a meeting with them as a matter of urgency where I will look for answers to these very worrying cuts,” concluded Deputy Cowen.