Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has criticised the decision of Government to cut the Respite Care Grant.

He commented, “The decision to cut the Respite Care Grant is one of the cruellest and most callous cuts in today’s budget.  It is devastating to the families that have to avail of it.   Its inclusion raises a serious question mark over the Government’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in society.  It also exposes how far the Government has strayed from its commitment to fairness in this budget.

“If the government was remotely serious about being fair and protecting the vulnerable they would reverse this cut immediately. This is a once a year payment of €1700 to people who are caring for people in their own homes who are sick, old or with a physical or mental disability.  In doing so, they not only add to the quality of life of those who are suffering, they are performing an immensely important service for the state.

“This cut will raise very little revenue and could end up costing the state more as more of these patients rely on the state for care.  More importantly, this decision sends out a very unpleasant signal about the value the Government places on this service.”