Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Rita McInerney says the restriction on new applicants for home help services will only have a knock-on negative consequence for families, carers, and the wider health services across the county.

“It is disgraceful that there are such restrictions on home help services. We all know the benefits of living in your own home for as long as possible. Despite this the government appear blind to the benefits and have not made any effort to reduce the 6,000 plus waiting list”, said McInerney.

“This decision makes absolutely no sense. It is in the best interest of those receiving the care, mainly the elderly and those with disabilities, to remain in their own homes. It gives them the independence and dignity that they deserve in order to live their lives. In addition, it saves the State money as it is more cost effective to care for people in their homes rather than in a nursing home or hospital setting.

“Forcing people into hospitals is not only a stressful for the person involved and their family, it creates capacity issues in our acute system and places more pressure on our Emergency Departments.

“I have met with many families who are at the end of their tether and deeply concerned that their loved ones will not get the care that they need. This is a deeply distressing situation for them and simply should not be happening.

“People needing home help are some of the most vulnerable in our society – the elderly and those with disabilities – and they deserve support and respect. Home help services are essential, they must be maintained, and indeed increased. Any move to reduce hours further cannot be countenanced and measures must be taken to ensure that these home helps are protected into the future”, concluded McInerney.