Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Wicklow Cllr Jennifer Cuffe has accused the Government of a bitter betrayal on supports for older people in Wicklow following confirmation that almost 53,000 home help hours have been slashed in the county over the last five years.
Cllr Cuffe commented, “Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil reveal that Fine Gael and Labour have consistently undermined the home care package for older people in Wicklow over the last five years. In 2010 there were 269,860 home help hours available to Wicklow people but in 2014 this had fallen to 216,996. A further fall in hours is projected for this year.
“The cuts to home help hours for older people are nothing short of a disgrace and are yet another example of Fine Gael and Labour’s failure to keep the promises they made in order to get elected. The Government committed to increasing home help supports this year, but the official figures made available by the HSE show that at least 3,000 more hours will be lost this year when compared to 2014. The Government is talking up the economic but the reality is they are continuing to cut back on vital supports to older people.
“The home help care package is vital for allowing older people to continue living active lives in their communities while also receiving high quality healthcare and support. Reducing home help hours is counterproductive and will only lead to greater pressure being placed on our already over-crowded hospitals. The Government should be increasing the number of home help hours, especially when you consider we have an ageing population in Ireland.
“This cut clearly highlights the extent of the Government’s betrayal of its Programme for Government commitment in relation to home supports for older people. It’s another example of Fine Gael and Labour’s continued attack on older people and people with disabilities. The cuts to over 70’s medical cards, to home adaption grants, to the housing aid for older people scheme, to the telephone allowance, the abolition of the bereavement grant, and the fivefold hike in prescription charges have had a serious impact on older people across the country,” said Cllr Cuffe.